Claim: Global Warming Makes Police Officers Lazy

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to a new study, global warming causes more crimes because in warm weather police officers are more reluctant to leave the air-conditioned comfort of their vehicles.

Global warming? Tell it to the judge.

Alan Neuhauser

First, climate change was blamed for coastal flooding and wildfires. The links seemed intuitive and the effects observable. But more recently, studies have probed its connection to farther afield things, like lower SAT scores and upticks in suicide rates. Now, a new report says warmer temperatures associated with the phenomenon could also be behind seasonal increases in fatal car crashes – and maybe even violent crime.

The reason for the impending social breakdown: Hotter weather makes people more sluggish, so police officers will be less willing to get out of their cars and make traffic stops as temperatures soar.

The study points out that such lethargy couldn’t come at a more inconvenient time: Hot temperatures are associated with more deadly crashes, more violent crime and more health violations, meaning that police and health inspectors become less vigilant just when they’re needed most.

“Do these meteorological conditions simultaneously amplify the public health risks officers are tasked with overseeing, like violent crime and vehicular crashes,” the authors ask in the study. “Previous studies have found a predominately linear relationship between higher temperatures and increases in violent crime.”

Nonetheless, Tingley and his coauthors say they hope the results will spur agencies to consider more closely how to help their workers – whether cops or health inspectors or elsewhere – cope with the heat.

“It’s an open question whether these agencies have the capacity to do that,” Tingley says. “If people have better air conditioning, these things could dissipate. But that ignores the broader message that climate change is real and that it impacts people’s performance.”

Read more:

The abstract of the study;

Effects of environmental stressors on daily governance

Nick Obradovich, Dustin Tingley, and Iyad Rahwan
PNAS August 13, 2018

Human workers ensure the functioning of governments around the world. The efficacy of human workers, in turn, is linked to the climatic conditions they face. Here we show that the same weather that amplifies human health hazards also reduces street-level government workers’ oversight of these hazards. To do so, we employ US data from over 70 million regulatory police stops between 2000 and 2017, from over 500,000 fatal vehicular crashes between 2001 and 2015, and from nearly 13 million food safety violations across over 4 million inspections between 2012 and 2016. We find that cold and hot temperatures increase fatal crash risk and incidence of food safety violations while also decreasing police stops and food safety inspections. Added precipitation increases fatal crash risk while also decreasing police stops. We examine downscaled general circulation model output to highlight the possible day-to-day governance impacts of climate change by 2050 and 2099. Future warming may augment regulatory oversight during cooler seasons. During hotter seasons, however, warming may diminish regulatory oversight while simultaneously amplifying the hazards government workers are tasked with overseeing.

Read more:

From the full study;

… The results of estimating Eq. 1 for the effect of maximum temperatures on police stops indicate that temperature nonlinearly relates to the log number of police stops on a given county day. Stops increase up to their maximum at 29 °C and decline past that point (Fig. 2A, P < 0.001, n = 938,273). This closely mirrors the functional form observed between maximum temperatures and participation in physical activity among a representative sample of the US population (31). Fig. 2B displays that stops decline linearly with increases in daily precipitation (coefficient −0.012, P < 0.001). See SI Appendix, Tables S1–S8 and SI Appendix, Marginal Effects for additional estimation results. Putting scale to the magnitude of our estimated relationship, a +10 °C shift from a maximum temperature of 30 °C to 40 °C produces a reduction in stops that represents an approximately 1.5% reduction in log number of stops compared with their mean value in our sample.

Adverse temperatures and precipitation reduce the number of regulatory police stops in our sample. Do these meteorological conditions simultaneously amplify the public health risks officers are tasked with overseeing, like violent crime and vehicular crashes? Previous studies have found a predominantly linear relationship between higher temperatures and increases in violent crime (21, 32). Extrapolating from that literature indicates the possible existence of a regulatory gap between marginal officer effort and the marginal added occurrence of violent crime at high temperatures.

Read more: Same link as above

Naturally the study references RCP 8.5 for producing its projections.

My thought – even if the tiny effect identified by this study is real, there are plenty of jurisdictions like Singapore with extremely hot climates and low crime rates, just as there are extremely cold states and nations with similarly low rates of crime, like some Scandinavian countries.

Spinning a slight reluctance to step outside in bad weather into a significant impact on future crime rates strains credibility.

Training, leadership and resourcing are obviously far more important determinants of police effectiveness than temperature.

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August 15, 2018 11:23 pm

So, they find that cold and hot temperatures increase fatal crash risks and increase the incidence of food safety violations while also making police sluggish and decreasing police stops and food safety inspections. Clearly, we will have to take steps to regulate for the removal of both hot and cold weather…. Solved…..

Hot under the collar
Reply to  Nicholas Tesdorf
August 16, 2018 8:02 am

Yep, either regulate the weather or, stop emplyoying ‘snowflake coppers’ who melt as soon as they get out of their car because the average temperature may have increased by a miniscule amount.

Joe Civis
Reply to  Nicholas Tesdorf
August 16, 2018 2:03 pm

aaahhh but they forgot to account for the cops getting out of their cars less for donuts… making them lose excess weight and be more fit.. so able to do better in foot pursuits!! wow… as Bugs said “What a bunch of maroons!”



August 15, 2018 11:30 pm

Could be that’s what happened to the Pharaoh’s soldiers in the Late Bronze Age
and how climate change ended it all for the Late Bronze Age civilization
the end of civilization???

Reply to  Chaamjamal
August 15, 2018 11:59 pm

Correct me if wrong, but wasn’t the Bronze Age Collapse due to colder rather than warmer climate change?

Reply to  Theo
August 16, 2018 12:15 am

good point.
thank you

both apparently
initially warming and later rapid drop in SST
“A sharp increase in Northern Hemisphere temperatures preceded the collapse ”
but the common theme in all of these papers is the dryness and drought
and agricultural failure

“a sharp decrease occurred during their abandonment of the palatial centers. Mediterranean Sea surface temperatures cooled”

Reply to  Theo
August 16, 2018 3:58 am

I thought it was due to the “seas people”.

Richard of NZ
Reply to  Theo
August 16, 2018 5:40 am

Why would that matter. Their air conditioning worked both ways, heating as well as cooling.

With regard to coppers being unwilling to get out of their air conditioned cars, remove the air conditioning and they will like getting out into the relative cool.

Martin A
August 15, 2018 11:52 pm

But global warming makes burglars more lazy too, so crime is reduced.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
August 16, 2018 1:26 am

If warmer weather makes cops lazy, why doesn’t it make criminals lazy? Maybe if we can turn cops into criminals and criminals into cops, we can solve this problem.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
August 16, 2018 4:32 am

You both could be right. Burglary isn’t a violent crime. Assault is a violent crime. I’m perfectly willing to believe that heat stressed people are more likely to commit an assault.

Reply to  commieBob
August 16, 2018 11:01 am

Equally one could assume that police act more violently as well. Are they not humans effected the same as all?

Reply to  rocketscientist
August 16, 2018 3:09 pm


Early in career, I did antennas and had a crew of riggers. The rule was that outside work under extreme cold conditions would multiply the time required by at least two. Part of that was due to stupid mistakes.

I assume that hot conditions also cause people to do dumb things.

Dumb mistakes can get a rigger killed. I also assume that applies to the police. Dumb mistakes happen in spite of peoples’ best intentions and their professionalism.

Yes, cops are human. To err is human. Ergo …

Reply to  Eric Worrall
August 16, 2018 6:20 am

If they looked where temps are fairly consistent all year…..they would throw this study out the window…..
What they found is criminals don’t hang out late at night when it’s cold either
…and stats from Chicago show that…first warm pretty day…murder rate goes off the charts again

Reply to  Latitude
August 16, 2018 10:52 pm

A fellow land surveyor once told me a story, I forget if it was first/second or third hand, but it went something like this:
The tripod was set up to make some measurements of a certain street (now, a surveyors theodolite can look a lot like a camera) in Chicago.
One of the homeboys made it very clear that pictures were not allowed in his place of business.
What to do ??

August 16, 2018 12:29 am

1) During warm weather, more people are outside. Those people might even have a beer, or two, or three. So more chances for “personal interaction between neighbors”. So the traffic stops are down because all patrols are on calls.
2) During cold weather there is this strange effect that water becomes a solid. So the traffic stops are down because all patrols sorting out car crashes.
3) It usually gets warm during the summer months. This also coincides with the period that staff likes to take their vacations.
4) When health inspectors actually find something wrong, it takes them hours or days to do the paperwork in a manner that is litigation proof. In summer it is more likely to actually find bugs or for refrigeration to be unable to maintain standards.

Ben of Houston
Reply to  RLu
August 16, 2018 8:09 am

About health inspectors: Don’t forget patios and outdoor picnics. These are more likely than any other location to have cross-contamination and failure of temperature control. When temperatures are so high or so low that people do not eat outside, you greatly increase the level of control.

Most of all, that summer staple, potato salad. An uncooked food ripe for cross contamination with a mayonnaise base ripe for spoilage. Most deadly dish on the planet.

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  Ben of Houston
August 16, 2018 8:44 am

And there I was , thinking it was beans …

Joel O'Bryan
August 16, 2018 12:33 am

They need to spend a summer in Tucson or Phoenix Arizona. Then they’ll know what heat is. Everything else is pithy after that.

True story: Just last weekend (Saturday night), I was out in Tucson downtown at 8pm with my 2 dogs. Talked to Tucson cop on a corner (he liked my big Belgian Malinois). He was wearing a long sleeve shirt dark blue shirt and a heavy ballistic vest underneath. A tactical holster with gun, taser, cuffs, baton, radio. He was sweating. But he said he loved it, being outside, with the people on the sidewalk, no car.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 16, 2018 1:10 am

Tuscon, that’s where we go to cool off in the summer. I travelled a lot, went to Canada working outside wind chill minus 40c for a few days, on a plane straight to the centre of Aussie outside at 49c for a few days. Did something to my thermostat, only need to turn the heaters on at home when it gets below 14c, saving a fortune. Don’t get many house guests in winter for some strange reason.

Reply to  Ozonebust
August 16, 2018 5:10 am

I did similar, from a wind chill reading of -60C in northern Canada, to +40 C in Mt Isa Australia within 2 weeks. A hundred degrees of change in 10 days, and these CAGW turkeys are afraid of 0.8 deg C in a century.
It was on this trip that I discovered that minus 40 was the same on both F and C scales.

August 16, 2018 12:46 am

Just some suggestions.
Overweight, too much coffee and not enough water, pharmaceutical drugs, lack of fitness, poor choice of materials used in the uniform, attitude, too much sugar.etc.

Greg Woods
Reply to  Ozonebust
August 16, 2018 2:43 am

Donuts, Global Warming causes cops to eat too many donuts….

Reply to  Ozonebust
August 16, 2018 12:40 pm

Global warmin caused Alexandre Benalla to usurp police authority and arrest people, creating the first crisis in the Macron gov.

August 16, 2018 1:18 am

Increased ice cream consumption correlates directly with an increase in shark attacks, therefore, eating ice cream causes shark attacks.

Ed Zuiderwijk
August 16, 2018 1:24 am

Haha. Any old excuse will do. Living in England I have a much more revolutionary suggestion: intelligence tests for PC Plod.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
August 16, 2018 1:44 am

Remember the Not the Nine O’Clock News sketches on TV from the 80’s and PC Savage being interviewed by his commander about his arrest record?

“Wearing a loud shirt in a built-up area and being in possession of an offensive wife.”

Reply to  Patrick MJD
August 16, 2018 3:57 am

Patrick MJD

“Wearing a loud shirt in a built-up area and being in possession of an offensive wife.”

Are you suggesting that’s not a good reason to arrest someone? 🙂

In 1970’s Glasgow that was an extremely good reason as the wife was invariably abusive and hubby off his head on Buckfast, wearing a shirt decorated with vomit.

Reply to  HotScot
August 16, 2018 6:18 am

“wearing a shirt decorated with vomit.”

Sometimes his own vomit.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
August 16, 2018 1:45 pm

Jeff Alberts

Usually his abusive wife’s.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  HotScot
August 16, 2018 10:30 pm

Rab C Nesbitt.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
August 17, 2018 3:53 am

Patrick MJD

Rab was the rule in 70’s Easterhouse, not the exception. Terrible deprivation though with shipyards, steel mills and car factories shutting down en mass. Sadly Rab was a symptom.

August 16, 2018 2:10 am

Ask any police officer in Chicago or any big city with a segregated welfare class why there is more crime in warm weather. More people sitting on the porches or patrolling the streets, looking for trouble. The crime rate perfectly tracks the number of people outside. When it gets too hot, they crawl to cooler places like Walmart, increasing the level of trouble there and requiring extra security. Whatever happens there is usually not reported unless it’s something out of the ordinary. Crime in the streets drops.

The global effect is tiny and shows all signs of p-hacking, probably because there are not too many places like Chicago. Even in Chicago it is attenuated by lumping together data from different precincts exhibiting dissimilar behavior.

Greg Woods
August 16, 2018 2:39 am

‘Spinning a slight reluctance to step outside in bad weather into a significant impact on future crime rates strains credibility.’ –

Hmm? Do you think?

August 16, 2018 3:27 am

No, the Socialist Totalitarian agenda makes police officers lazy.

They know that is they arrest a socialist leftist or anyone supported by the socialist left (eg Islamic terrorists, anti-fa etc) for doing anything evil or criminal, the leftist agenda will have it thrown out of court.

old construction worker
Reply to  Fred250
August 16, 2018 3:52 am

And open to bribes.

August 16, 2018 3:56 am

Amazing what 0.3C degrees change can do.


old construction worker
August 16, 2018 4:02 am

‘2000 and 2017, ‘ Interesting. What happen prior to 2017. Without the support of city hall why should the police get out of their cars. Could it be a byproduct of “black lives mater”, “sanctuary city” and gang wars over turf control. I still wonder how much “blood money” is supporting politicians in big city halls

Joe Bastardi
August 16, 2018 4:07 am

I thought donut shops do that. Get rid of donuts and problem solved

Steve O
August 16, 2018 4:41 am

“If people have better air conditioning, these things could dissipate. But that ignores the broader message that climate change is real and that it impacts people’s performance.”

— This betrays the entire CAGW dogma. You can believe everything the alarmists claim about the impending doom of climate change, and that STILL doesn’t justify a single windmill. The dogma refuses to consider that we need to make adjustments to our lives to conform to a changing climate.

If climate change is coming, WE NEED TO ADJUST TO IT. That is true whether changes are 100% man-made or 100% natural. It’s true whether changes are beneficial or catastrophic, or anything in-between.

Actions need to be based on a cost/benefit analysis. The depth of many people’s thinking doesn’t go any deeper than “we’re justified in spending ANY amount of money because we need to save the world.” That’s not a cost/benefit analysis. If it’s going to get hotter, and poor people will need air conditioning, then you better not make electricity unaffordable.

Reply to  Steve O
August 16, 2018 5:40 am

“If climate change is coming”……

Exactly when was the climate NOT changing ??

August 16, 2018 4:50 am

I thought it was due to eating too many doughnuts .

August 16, 2018 5:11 am

Police do food safety inspections? Where? Seems to me like they would do more inspections since food is supposed to be refrigerated and what better place to be in 104F temperatures than in refrigeration?

August 16, 2018 5:38 am

“Hotter weather makes people more sluggish”
Won’t the same reasoning apply to criminals when they want they feel like going out to steal?


These science studies on how climate change will negatively affect our lives or other things are getting absurd in an entertaining way IMO. I can’t believe that these studies get funding. I think if would be enlightening if we could find out the funding sources of these climate change science studies.
If anybody knows how to find this info out, let me know. I’ll glady spend some time looking into who funds these studies…

I can only imagine what the next few months will bring in the name of unknown funding to find proof of climate change negatively affecting our lives so socialism can save us and the world.

Reply to  kramer
August 16, 2018 6:22 am

” I can’t believe that these studies get funding.”

How much money does it really take to make this shit up?

dodgy geezer
August 16, 2018 5:55 am

…just as there are extremely cold states and nations with similarly low rates of crime…

Are there any cold places with high rates of crime?

I believe that Eskimos who had been moved into villages might have suffered high rates of drunkenness, but I’m really looking for classic dishonesty or violence…

Wayne Townsend
August 16, 2018 6:08 am

My wife was driving through North Dakota when the thermometer read -30F. She had a car featured in Fast and Furious 4 and was doing an interestingly very high rate of speed at night. She was gaining on a car off toward the horizon and when she got within a half mile of it, the overhead lights of a highway patrolman started flashing on the car. My wife slowed to pace him. He never slowed to ticket or talk to her. The lights were just his way of saying “Don’t make me get out of this car.” Obviously cold weather makes police officers sluggish also.

Bruce Cobb
August 16, 2018 6:12 am

“Climate change/Global warming” make the perfect patsy for anything and everything bad that happens. It is analgous to blaming witches. It also means people will want to “fight climate change”, which is responsible for Everything Bad, so it’s a win/win for the Climatist Industry.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
August 16, 2018 1:37 pm

Anything bad is cause either by populism, climate change, or Russian meddling.

August 16, 2018 6:42 am

If this is what random climate scare story generators are capable of now, just wait for the fire hose of off- the-wall topic and key word combinations coming with quantum computer generated climate scare.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
August 16, 2018 7:28 pm

Quantum means you get to store more information into one bit, right?

August 16, 2018 6:47 am

Global warming is feeding the volume-based publication mill for promotion and tenure. Its contribution to growth is comparable to CO2 greenhouse effects on plants. Model it….

Dale S
August 16, 2018 6:58 am

Fortunately, global warming has had very little effect on summertime maximums, so the reluctance of police offers to get out of their cars because it is too hot is trivial. It’s had a much larger effect on winter minimums, so the reluctance of police officers to get out of their cars because it is too cold should be significantly reduced.

Of course, even if this were not so, if a +10C increase from an already hot temperature only reduces stops by 1.5% I think worries about an “impeding social breakdown” are ludicrous.

Green Sand
August 16, 2018 7:24 am

Jeez, I wish it was Global Warming making the police ineffective. In the UK I fear it is due to a far more insidious cause – Common Purpose!

Joel Snider
August 16, 2018 7:57 am

Well, as long as we’re going with this ridiculous premise, wouldn’t it also make criminals lazier, too? It’s not like they were achievers in the first place.

Al Montgomery
August 16, 2018 8:37 am

Clearly the answer is that all police must immediately be given all summers off to avoid any chance of heat fatigue. We’ll just fend for ourselves- that’s a small price to pay for the unimaginable consequences of making people get out of air conditioned cars!
It is clearly way beyond time to cut off funding for asinine studies!

August 16, 2018 8:49 am

We can make an equation out of this.


therefore, we can mathematically simplify that equation and state that:


It’s so obvious! How did we miss that before now????

Reply to  wws
August 16, 2018 9:51 am

I think the more correct form is A. Global Warming = DONUTS * C^2

Thus Donuts can be thought of as crystallized AGW energy or at least a 12th dimension interpretation of it in super string donut theory.

August 16, 2018 9:27 am

Wouldn’t global warming cause criminals to want to stay inside their air conditioned spaces more too?

No, the argument there, I guess, would be that hot weather makes criminals more agitated and more likely to commit crimes. Criminal intent trumps law enforcing vigilance, I guess.

… could spawn a new TV series: Law and Order: Climate Victims Unit [da dung!]

Joel Snider
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
August 16, 2018 9:47 am

Well, then, by the same line of reasoning, wouldn’t that make the cops grouchier too? Maybe more likely to bust a few heads?
It’s all about-face logic.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Joel Snider
August 16, 2018 9:50 am

… and literally the moment I finished typing I realized I just gave them their next headline: Climate Change Makes Cops More Violent.

Reply to  Joel Snider
August 16, 2018 10:10 am

Yes, you did, and I thought about that, so that’s why I didn’t go there.

Cops are expected to restrain themselves — it’s all part of the training.

Excuse me, sir, if I may interrupt your thievery for a moment to inquire as to your intent to pull that gun on me, and may I further inquire, now that you are pointing the gun at me, as to your intent to, in fact, apply pressure to the trigger? Am I correct in assuming that you are, in fact, aiming at ME, and not at some pesky mosquito flying about my head that you wish to extinguish in a gentlemanly gesture? Hold for one second, sir, as I see that you ARE, in fact, intent on shooting me, and having made a due diligent attempt to forestall your final decision, I must inform you that I am about to draw my own side arm and position it in such a manner as to inflict harm upon you, if you do not comply with my request to
— this is what police officers are TRAINED to do in a split second, to defy all known laws of space/time, during a potentially life-threatening encounter. Cops are immortal superheros who can get this done, unlike the rest of us who must obey the usual old boring laws of our universe.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
August 16, 2018 11:00 am

That was sarcasm, by the way, for those who might have missed it. (^_^)

Joel Snider
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
August 16, 2018 11:53 am

You have to clarify that these days.

Reply to  Joel Snider
August 16, 2018 3:09 pm

Who’s “them”, and if “them” are really that desperate for headlines, I’m sure that given 5-10 minutes I could think up one.
Even less than that:
Climate change lowers caffeine in coffee, less jittery cops are now slow on the draw.

August 16, 2018 10:33 am

I have absolutely nothing against cops.
Ultimately though, if you are not equipped to protect yourself, all they can do is draw the chalk outline.
Things happen really fast, sometimes.

Joel Snider
Reply to  u.k.(us)
August 16, 2018 12:26 pm

When seconds count, the cops are often minutes away.

August 16, 2018 12:42 pm

Someone should point out to these so called researchers that something else important happened between 2000 and 2017. We had a President for eight of those years and an entire movement that went after the police. In Baltimore alone the police stopped being proactive and became reactive. Mayors in other cities stopped search and frisk and broken window policing policies. London, I am told by friends, has significant problems with law enforcement for similar reasons. As soon as we no longer support law enforcement we have a problem.

As for food safety violations there were two large restaurant chains that had apparently unresolvable food safety issues. Yet food safety issues are as much a problem, not from lack of enforcement due to climate but the incompetence of the government bureaucracies. Also, the technocrats count violations differently depending on who is in charge. We had that problem with seafood safety. “Issues” never before a problem were being declared critical issues and the numbers went up dramatically.

Johann Wundersamer
August 16, 2018 12:43 pm

“Effects of environmental stressors on daily governance

Nick Obradovich, Dustin Tingley, and Iyad Rahwan
PNAS August 13, 2018

Human workers ensure the functioning of governments around the world. The efficacy of human workers, in turn, is linked to the climatic conditions they face.”

These people never did real work in the real world.

If there’s ice and snow outside or August heat the work is the same and has to be done.

Otherwise you’re fired.

Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
August 21, 2018 12:48 pm

Under these circumstances, I take “…climate…” to mean, what’s it like around you? If I follow my regulations, will I get praised and promoted, or will I be sent to retraining because I said something non-PC that just has not made it into the manual yet? And since PC changes with the occupant of the White House… That’s what Climate means in this study.

John Harmsworth
August 16, 2018 2:12 pm

So….all we need to do is provide air conditioned places for the criminals to hang around in and they will be too lazy to go out and commit crimes! I didn’t realize thia social engineering stuff was so easy!

John Harmsworth
August 16, 2018 2:13 pm

And what happens when it’s minus 20 outside? Doesn’t that do the same thing? In which case global warming would mean cops are more willing to leave their cars. Is this not maximum B.S.?

August 18, 2018 6:09 am

I’m more inclined to think that Leftists’ war on cops is more likely causing police officers to think twice before rushing into a life or death situation in some neighborhoods. Knowing that you can be jailed or forever ostracized just for doing your job has to weigh on a cop’s mind.

August 21, 2018 12:29 pm

Pedant alert:

“Spinning a slight reluctance to step outside in bad weather into a significant impact on future crime rates strains credibility.”

To be more precise, it strains your credulity. And by straining your credulity, they lose credibility.


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