Investigating the relationship between weather and violence in Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Injury. 2016 Jan;47(1):272-6. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2015.07.006. Epub 2015 Jul 13.


Background: It is a common refrain at major urban trauma centers that caseloads increase in the heat of the summer. Several previous studies supported this assertion, finding trauma admissions and crime to correlate positively with temperature. We examined links between weather and violence in Baltimore, MD, through trauma presentation to Johns Hopkins Hospital and crime reports filed with the Baltimore Police Department.

Methods: Crime data were obtained from the Baltimore City Police Department from January 1, 2008 to March 31, 2013. Trauma data were obtained from a prospectively collected registry of all trauma patients presenting to Johns Hopkins Hospital from January 1, 2007 to March 31, 2013. Weather data were obtained from the National Climatic Data Center. Correlation coefficients were calculated and negative binomial regression was used to elucidate the independent associations of weather and temporal variables with the trauma and crime data.

Results: When adjusting for temporal and meteorological factors, maximum daily temperature was positively associated with total trauma, intentional injury, and gunshot wounds presenting to Johns Hopkins Hospital along with total crime, violent crime, and homicides in Baltimore City. Associations of average wind speed, daily precipitation, and daily snowfall with trauma and crime were far weaker and, when significant, nearly universally negative.

Conclusion: Maximum daily temperature is the most important weather factor associated with violence and trauma in our study period and location. Our findings suggest potential implications for hospital staffing to be explored in future studies.

Keywords: Baltimore; Temperature; Trauma; Violence; Violent crime; Weather.

MeSH terms

  • Baltimore / epidemiology
  • Crime / psychology*
  • Female
  • Homicide / psychology*
  • Homicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Seasons
  • Temperature
  • Trauma Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • Violence / psychology*
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data
  • Weather*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology*