A new study infers that the presence of some substances in the air can hinder the willingness to commit crimes. During the apex periods for pollen and hay fever, urban violence tends to enter an interesting decline.
A team of researchers compared local pollen counts and daily crime reports recorded in 17 US cities, and results infer that on day when the level of pollen is considerably higher than the average the rate of violent crimes drops by almost 4%. This may not seem to be much, but in most cases it requires a 10% boost in the police force while also expanding prison population.
Previous research suggested that air quality can influence our behavior. Areas where pollution tends to be high, are more prone to higher crime rates since the environmental pollutants can alter the biochemistry of the brain and render it more aggressive.
Pollen has not been linked to an effect of brain chemistry, but there is a correlation tied to a cause-effect mechanism. Pollen and hay fever can create a health shock, and person affected by them tend to feel ill and tired, making them less willing to commit acts which require a large number of physical efforts.
Official statistics note that up to 20% of the US population is affected by allergies caused by pollen. At this point, it is hard to explain the role of the pollen since human behavior is influenced by a large number of factors.
During the study, the researchers focused on several factors, including the weather, the date, details about the city, and the weekly amount of pollen. Microdata was also observed in an attempt to identify possible links. The researchers were surprised when they discovered that high pollen counts could be correlated to a decrease in violent residential crimes. People affected by allergies are tired and will not get angry as fast as others.
A study was published in a scientific journal.