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Air pollution exposure increases violent crime rates: Study

ANI | Updated: Oct 06, 2019 17:31 IST

Washington DC [USA], Oct 6 (ANI): In a new study, scientists have found that dirty air not only makes us sick but also aggressive.
The study set to publish in the 'Journal of Environmental Economics and Management' found strong links between short-term exposure to air pollution and aggressive behaviour in the form of aggravated assaults and other violent crimes across continental United States.
The researchers cross-analysed three highly detailed data-sets: daily criminal activity from the National Incident-Based Reporting System; daily county-level air pollution from 2006-2013 collected by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency monitors; and daily data on wildfire smoke plumes from satellite imagery provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hazard Mapping System.
Researchers found that 56 per cent of violent crimes and 60 per cent of assaults occurred within the home which is an indication that many such crimes are tied to domestic violence.
The research results show a 10 microgram-per-cubic-meter increase in same-day exposure to PM2.5 is associated with a 1.4 per cent increase in violent crimes, nearly all of which is driven by crimes categorised as assaults.
Researchers also found that a 0.01 parts-per-million increase in same-day exposure to ozone is associated with a 0.97 per cent increase in violent crime, or a 1.15 per cent increase in assaults.
"We're talking about crimes that might not even be physical - you can assault someone verbally," said co-author Jude Bayham. "The story is, when you're exposed to more pollution, you become marginally more aggressive, so those altercations - some things that may not have escalated - do escalate." (ANI)