LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — The myth that the crime rate goes up during the summer is just that — a myth.
As it turns out, crime does not spike when temperatures begin to sizzle. Rather, police in the Baltimore and Washington corridor say there is a seasonal shift in the type of criminal acts being committed.
During warmer months, there is a higher rate of bike thefts and items being stolen from cars. And these crimes are easily preventable, according to police.
Authorities say it doesn’t take much for an ill-intentioned person to ride off on a bicycle left unattended in a front yard or to grab a high-priced item left in a car with the windows rolled down. In addition, open garages can prove all too enticing for burglars. Police caution criminals can use tools stored in the garage to break into a residence.
Conversely, criminals often make quick work of unattended cars left warming up in driveways during the winter. Christmas presents left in cars also make easy targets for thieves.
Noticing the pattern, police departments across the region have begun adjusting patrolling measures to counter the seasonal shift.
The efforts tend to be more community-based with children out of school during the summer. Departments have created programs for students to keep busy and engaged as class stands in recess.
In Baltimore, the doors of the police academy will swing open to children attending an explorer camp.
“It’s really about mentoring, reaching out, connecting with kids that might not necessarily look like you or look like the people that are mentoring them,” said Baltimore Police Lieutenant Eric Kowalczyk. “[It’s about] reaching out and finding ways to engage with kids in a new and different way that gives them something positive and constructive to do.”
In addition, officers in Baltimore will also be holding an MMA training camp. Kowalczyk said the purpose of the camp is not to teach children to fight, but to instill discipline and an organized activity with a positive outcome.
As the seasons change and temperatures drop, police revert to using more traditional anti-crime measures. Malls and commercial areas are more heavily patrolled in an attempt to curb crimes against holiday shoppers.
Summer Crime By Location
Baltimore and Washington: Both jurisdictions say there is an increase in the number of emergency calls, but the spike is mostly attributed to noise and disorderly conduct complaints. The calls don’t necessarily mean a crime has been committed and officers often leave without making an arrest.
Prince George’s County: Police in the county say there used to be a summertime crime wave, but the spike has leveled off in recent years.
Montgomery County and Annapolis: Authorities say the crime rate remains consistent throughout the year and there is no seasonal fluctuation.
WNEW’s John Domen contributed to this report.