Study: Crime spikes when Daylight Saving Time ends

Evening robberies dropped at least 20 percent

DENVER - We turn the clocks back Sunday at 2 a.m., but the extra hour of sleep comes with a spike in crime.

Researchers at the Brookings Institution and Cornell University conducted the first systematic study of Daylight Saving Time and violent crime. They found the extra sunlight translates to lower rates of rape and robberies. Evening robberies decreased by at least 20 percent.

"It's the whole -- I don't want anyone to see me. I don't want that person I'm going up against to see me. I don't want anyone else from the outside to see me," said Criminologist Denise Mowder, Ph.D. at Metropolitan State University Denver. "I don't think they think about getting caught. They just don't want anyone to see them."

The increased crime at night did not result in more crime in the morning.

Because most people cannot leave work before 5 p.m., they are more likely to be the targets of crimes of opportunity when DST ends.

"We all know if you put lights out in front of your house, it's safer. If you walk down streets that are well-lit, you're probably safer. It's the same kind of thing," said Mowder. "It's not really Daylight Saving Time, but we should take a lesson from it."

Mowder and the research agree -- we would all be safer if we just left the time alone, all year-round.


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