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Bad moon on the rise? Lunar cycles and incidents of crime


  • Schafer, Joseph A.
  • Varano, Sean P.
  • Jarvis, John P.
  • Cancino, Jeffrey M.


Popular cultures in Western societies have long espoused the notion that phases of the moon influence human behavior. In particular, there is a common belief the full moon increases incidents of aberrant, deviant, and criminal behavior. Using police, astronomical, and weather data from a major southwestern American city, this study assessed whether lunar cycles related with rates of reported crime. The findings fail to support popular lore, which has suggested that lunar phase influenced the volume of crime reported to the police. Future research directions examining qualitative rather than quantitative aspects of this problem may yield further inform the understanding of whether lunar cycles appreciably influence demands for policing services.

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  • Schafer, Joseph A. & Varano, Sean P. & Jarvis, John P. & Cancino, Jeffrey M., 2010. "Bad moon on the rise? Lunar cycles and incidents of crime," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 359-367, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcjust:v:38:y::i:4:p:359-367

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Laura R. Olson & Wendy Cadge & James T. Harrison, 2006. "Religion and Public Opinion about Same-Sex Marriage," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 87(2), pages 340-360.
    2. Payne, Brian K. & Gainey, Randy R. & Triplett, Ruth A. & Danner, Mona J. E., 2004. "What drives punitive beliefs?: Demographic characteristics and justifications for sentencing," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 195-206.
    3. J. Scott Long & Jeremy Freese, 2006. "Regression Models for Categorical Dependent Variables using Stata, 2nd Edition," Stata Press books, StataCorp LP, edition 2, number long2, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sorg, Evan T. & Taylor, Ralph B., 2011. "Community-level impacts of temperature on urban street robbery," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 463-470.
    2. Magnone, Edoardo, 2013. "A scientometric look at calendar events," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 101-108.

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