Fewer Crimes Are Committed on Christmas

Based on data from the Philadelphia Police Department, 1,640 crimes are committed each day in Philadelphia. That number falls to 838, or about half of the average, on Christmas day.

The following chart shows the number of crimes reported on each calendar day between 2006 and 2012. Note that crime data for the last few days of December 2012 is projected based on 2006-2011 data.


The graph does not show a post-Christmas spike, so the drop in crime appears to be real (i.e., the PD does not defer the reporting and timestamping of a crime until the next working day). The next nine lowest-crime days are all in the cold of February, which is true of New York City, too.

Other holidays show significant drops in crime. For the following graph, 11/1 corresponds to the first Monday in November, 11/2 to the first Tuesday, 11/8 to the second Monday and so on. For simplicity, only 28 days are plotted for each month.


Here, the day with the fewest crimes is the first Wednesday in March, which shows a 38% drop from the average. I am not sure why. Thanksgiving is the sixth safest day with a 32% reduction. Labor Day, the first Monday in September, exhibits a 12% drop while the first Sunday in September (the day before Labor Day in six of the past seven years) shows an 11% drop. Crime is at or above average across other days in early September.

Wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday season! And in case you are wondering, New Year’s Eve and Day are in fact 17% and 11% safer than an average day.

  1. dfkoz posted this