Cold Slows Crime in Mid-Michigan

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Cold weather may not completely freeze crime in its tracks, but it certainly is slowing it down, the Ingham County Sheriff's Office says.

Maj. Joel Maatman says crime is down seven percent in Ingham County, particularly on what are known as "part one crimes." That includes home invasions, criminal sexual conduct, felonious assault and larcenies among others.

"Crime seems to take a break when it gets very very cold," said Maatman. "The colder it gets, the less those crime calls seem to come in because people just aren't out there, they aren't mobile, they aren't doing things that perhaps would be done during the summertime."

But there is plenty of other business to make up for the crime lull. Calls for slideoffs on the roads and welfare checks make up the difference, Maatman said.

"I think [our role] does change," he said. "I think you go to an assisting-the-public role. you're checking the welfare of people who are stuck on the side of the road, traffic hazards, slideoffs, accidents, those tend to go up, but crime calls, priority one calls seem to go down because a lot of people aren't just out there moving around, people are trying to stay warm."

The Jackson Police Department has also seen a decrease in calls for service, though Lt. Elmer Hitt says its not too dramatic a change from years past.

The winter weather has helped in other ways though, Hitt said, particularly solving crimes more quickly.

Hitt points to a recent break-in at the Log Cabin Party Store at the corner of Franklin and Fourth. Police were able to track footprints in the snow to nab their suspects.

"We have the luxury of having tracks, obviously other times of the year that's not the case, so it often can lead to just a quick apprehension and closure of a case for us," Hitt said.

But it's still important for people to stay vigilant and alert Hitt said.

"Cold weather does not stop crime at all," he said. "It could occur any time."

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