Seasonal Variation in Homicide and Assault Across Large U.S. Cities

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Seasonal Variation in Homicide and Assault Across Large U.S. Cities

Category: Homicide|Journal: Homicide Studies (full text)|Author: D McDowall, K Curtis|Year: 2014

Although most crimes follow seasonal cycles, homicide is an apparent exception. The absence of homicide seasonality is surprising given that assault, a closely related offense, has an obvious annual pattern. Focusing on large U.S. cities, this article reevaluates seasonality in homicide rates using data with more extensive spatial and areal dimensions than in previous research. Panel decompositions reveal seasonal cycles in both homicide and assault rates. Seasonality stands out more clearly in assault, however, and the patterns differ somewhat in their details. The findings support the idea that assault and homicide have similar seasonal fluctuations, but they also suggest that the crimes are more distinct than criminologists often believe.

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