Air Pollution Associated With Crime in London

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Air pollution is associated with crime in London, according to a report published on April 26, 2018.

This study was conducted by the researchers at the London School of Economics (LSE). According to their study, more polluted areas were found with increased cases of crimes, mainly less serious offences such as pickpocketing and shoplifting. This was happening in London indiscriminately, affecting poor and rich areas. The results of the study showed that the crime rate in the most polluted areas of London was 8 percent higher.

Dr. Sefi Roth, an expert in environmental economics at LSE said, “We analyzed data on air pollution and more than 1.8 million crimes over two years in London – we link that with data on air pollution, and we use various statistical techniques to ensure our results are robust.” Earlier experiments have shown that increasing level of particulate matter in air will increase the level of stress hormones. This is the reason that brings in behavioral changes in a person and then, causes the person to commit a crime.

However, there was no link found between air pollution level and violent forms of crime such as rape and murder. Factors such as temperature, humidity, and rainfall were taken into account by the researchers while conducting the study. However, this study is not convincing to all the scientists. Although Professor McConway acknowledged the ‘natural experiment’ used by Dr. Roth and his collaborators, he said that this did not comprehensively prove air pollution was causing crime. Dr. Roth said, “If we can do something about it, which we can, then that is actually good news. One potential cost effective way to reduce crime is to reduce air pollution.”

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