A new study by researchers at Boston University School of Public Health and the University of Washington School of Social Work has found a link between higher temperatures and increased gun violence in the US. The study analyzed over 16,000 incidents of gun violence and daily temperatures from 2015 to 2020, using publicly available data from the Gun Violence Archive.
The results indicate that the Northeast and Midwest regions saw a sharp rise in gun violence on days that were hotter-than-normal. Of the 7,973 shootings studied, the researchers found that a significant number were attributable to above-average temperatures.
“Our study provides strong evidence that daily temperature plays a meaningful role in gun violence fluctuations,” says Dr. Jonathan Jay, senior author of the study and assistant professor of community health sciences at Boston University School of Public Health. “It highlights the importance of heat adaptation strategies and the need for specific regional awareness in areas where this relationship is strongest.”
According to lead author Dr. Vivian Lyons, “our study really highlights the need for specific regional awareness and attention in regions where this relationship is strongest.”
As gun violence continues to be a leading cause of death among children and teens in the US, this study sheds new light on a previously overlooked factor. It is a crucial step towards finding effective solutions to reduce gun violence and create a safer environment for all.