Chicago has suffered over the past few months from a particularly bad case of the twin maladies of summer in the city: heat and crime waves. In the last week of August alone, 82 people were shot in Chicago, including as many as 19 over a single mid-week night. As a depressing indicator of just how common this news had become, the local media was reduced to reporting the shootings in bullet-point form.
The Chicago spree, as unusually severe as it has been, mimics a pattern that researchers (and police officials and, heck, just about all of us) have long observed. When temperatures go up, crime often does, too (last summer’s startling London riots were partly blamed on the weather). Theorizing about Chicago’s "Bloody Summer" back in July, William Bratton, the former top police official in Boston, New York City, and Los Angeles, put it this way in the Wall Street Journal: