Study links seasonal allergies to crime rate

U.S. & World

(NBC) – If you suffer from fall allergies, right about now, mold and ragweed might have you sniffling and sneezing.

While all that misery feels like it’s for nothing, there may be a surprising hidden benefit.

Studies have shown violent crime is more common as temperatures increase. Higher pollution has also been linked to higher crime rates.

But what about widespread changes in health and feelings of wellness — the kind that might come from seasonal allergies?

Seasonal allergies are a significant cause of work absenteeism and can be especially problematic in younger people who are also more likely to commit crimes.

So a group of researchers — including Wayne State University Professor Shooshan Danagoulian — set out to see if seasonal allergies had an effect on crime rates.

“Our main finding is that on very high pollen days we find a 4 percent decline in violent crime and that finding is actually a very large number because a 4 percent decline is equivalent to a 10 percent in the police force,” he said.

Meaning on those days, police services are less stretched by 10 percent.

While the researchers couldn’t tell exactly why this occurred, they have a theory.

“People just want to be less active on high pollen days, they are more sluggish, they have seasonal allergies. They are just not feeling well, and so they are less likely to physically demanding tasks, violence being one of them,” he said.

Interestingly, seasonal allergies only had an effect on violent crimes, not property crimes.

The researchers thought the difference they found between violent crimes and property crimes might be related to the emotional nature of violent crimes compared to the pre-planned nature of many property crimes.

Emotion is more subject to how you feel, but someone probably won’t call off a burglary because they feel tired.

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