Experts debate the connection between heat and homicide

Crime
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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - Thermometers across the city tell the story of our spike in heat while the police tape and coroner’s reports pile up. The average high for July so far has been 92. Last year the July average was 90 degrees and in 2013, it was 89.

“We’re hot most of the year. It’s a factor. It tends to increase the emotionality of people it tends to make us a little more irritable and less tolerant,” says Professor Reginald Parquet, of Tulane University’s School of Social Work.

Parquet says the connection between heat and violence might even be a genetic issue!

“I’m saying that there may be some persons who, because of their genetics or their genome, may be predisposed to violence specifically because of the variables of heat and temperature,” says Parquet.

The topic gets Loyola University professor, George Capowich heated up.

“There’s no evidence for that, I can’t stress it enough. It’s been thoroughly researched and there is no relationship between the temperature and violence.”

Meanwhile, an overnight shooting death in the Lower Ninth brings the murder count to 101.

Professors Parquet and Capowich do agree on some factors that are influencing the increase in crime and violence.

“One is the availability of guns, and that's not unique to New Orleans; that's true for inner cities all over the country,” says Capowich.

Parquet agrees and adds, “We have a city that has a lot of challenges. We have to improve education. We have to improve employment. We have to decrease the high rate of poverty. We have to decrease the concentration of poverty in certain sections of this city."

And they say some of what makes New Orleans unique, such as Bourbon Street, the city’s overall party atmosphere, and our neighborhood dynamics also are factors that are potential roadblocks to cooling off the crime spree.

"Some say that in the city of New Orleans you'll find a church and a bar room in every block. And for some neighborhoods there is actually a culture of learned helplessness and frustration,” says Parquet.

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