A new study published by the National Bureau for Economic Research links the effects of air pollution with violent crime.
Researchers claim the Air Pollution and Criminal Activity: Evidence from Chicago Microdata report by Evan Herrnstadt (Harvard’s Center for the Environment) and Erich Muehlegger (University of California, Davis) is “the first quasi-experimental evidence that air pollution affects violent criminal activity.”
The Washington Post reports that Herrnstadt and Muehlegger compiled “a vast crime dataset from the Chicago Police Department” which included “more than 2 million major crimes committed between 2001 and 2012 in the city.”
According to the Post’s article detailing the connection between pollution and crime, “the data included the crimes’ dates and locations.” With this information, researchers determined how close violent crimes occurred near major expressways that run through Chicago.
Meteorological data was also included in the survey, which allowed Herrnstadt and Muehlegger to pinpoint when air currents were “blowing tailpipe pollution from vehicles into neighborhoods south of I-290, or into neighborhoods north of it.”
The result of this cross-section of crime and meteorological data equated to an “estimated 2.2 percent higher prevalence of violent crime when a neighborhood is on ‘the downwind side'” of major roads and/or expressways.
Visit The Washington Post for full analysis of the Air Pollution and Criminal Activity: Evidence from Chicago Microdata report.
SOURCE: Washington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty