The Real Cost of a Sweltering Summer

By Lewis Braham - 2012-07-19T00:21:34Z

Photograph by Scott Olson/Getty Images

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Cost of rising tempers

Tempers flare during heat waves, sometimes to deadly effect. As temperatures broke 100 in Chicago this July 5, there were 22 shootings and five deaths, well above average for the city, which has suffered 272 total homicides this year. One problem is the urban poor often lack air conditioning and stay in the street at night to cool off, when they are more likely to be victims of crime. Biology also plays a role. The heat increases testosterone levels, inciting men to fight. The New York Times recently pondered whether the heat isn't causing even politicians such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to get into scuffles.