The number of murders and incidents of violent crimes in the city have a positive correlation with temperature, increasing with rising temperatures from January to June, statistics maintained by the Punjab Metrology Department, the Police Department and the Rescue 1122 show.
Psychologists and police officials support the view that with rise in temperature people tend to get worked up quickly and are more vulnerable to picking up quarrels over minor issues and even killing someone.
There were 26 murders in January when average temperature in the city was 16.6°C, 34 in February against 19.9°C, 40 in March against 28°C, 57 in April against 32.9°C, 60 in May against 39.9°C and 51 in June against 37.1°C.
Interestingly, the number of murders fell sharply in June once the atmospheric temperature decreased and got closer to the mean body temperature.
Police said most of these murders involved property disputes, old rivalries and armed robberies. Some were honour killings.
According to Rescue 1122, 40 people were injured in violent quarrels in January, 45 in February, 53 in March, 45 in April, 82 in May and 61 in June.
Amjad Tufail, a psychologist, says most murders and incidents of violence involve financial disputes.
However, he says factors such as rise in temperature do have an impact on human behaviour and can trigger people to take extreme measures more easily. “Humans are impulsive. A rise in temperature can affect their decisions,” he said.
SP (Mobile) Ather Waheed told The Express Tribune more people were killed or injured during robberies and scuffles in summer months than those in winter months. “Temperature and aggression have a positive correlation. People get angry and lose their temper more quickly in summer months,” he says.
However, he said a rise in temperature was not the only factor affecting the number of killings. “Availability of weapons should also be taken into account,” he says.
SP Waheed said murders mostly involved four steps: motivation, preparation, commission and withdrawal. “In high temperatures, people may get motivated much more quickly,” he says.
He mentioned two killing incidents in June where minor quarrels had led people to lose their lives. A woman was killed by her brother-in-law and a man by his neighbour over a children’s quarrel.
Farmaish Ali, 37, a resident of Jallo Mor, died after Shehzad hit him in the head with a brick after their children had scuffled over a game of football.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2011.
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