Tutu cold for Dis­ney, dancers and do-bad­ders

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Danika Wor­thing­ton

You know it’s cold when Mickey won’t ice skate with kids and Rus­sian bal­leri­nas have bus trou­ble. Even some crim­i­nals took the day off af­ter Den­ver’s tem­per­a­ture plunged to mi­nus-10 early Thurs­day.

“Peo­ple are just less ac­tive. Things just sort of shut down. Peo­ple aren’t out and about,” said Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor Mar­shall Burke, who has stud­ied the cor­re­la­tion be­tween chang­ing tem­per­a­tures and crime rates.

Peo­ple awoke on a frigid Thurs­day to dis­cover events had been can­celed and car bat­ter­ies had given up.

Dis­ney On Ice’s char­ac­ters had to can­cel a skat­ing ses­sion with preschool­ers from War­ren Vil­lage Learn­ing Cen­ter.

The Moscow Bal­let, which is on tour with “The Nutcracker,” can­celed its Thurs­day night per­for­mance in Grand Junc­tion af­ter buses in Wy­oming wouldn’t start in mi­nus-31 de­gree con­di­tions.

The bal­leri­nas weren’t the only ones with car trou­bles.

Ur­ban Au­to­care gen­eral man­ager Phil Car­pen­ter said older and low-qual­ity car bat­ter­ies run into trou­ble around 30 de­grees and be­low. And oil be­comes thicker in the cold, mak­ing it harder for the en­gine to turn. Ev­ery­thing in a car be­comes more brit­tle in cold weather, he added.

“You get in your car and you’re go­ing over a bump, you hear new rat­tles, new creaks you haven’t heard be­fore be­cause ev­ery­thing’s not mov­ing as freely,” Car­pen­ter said.

Den­ver po­lice said they weren’t so sure about a con­nec­tion be­tween cold and a crime drop, but oth­ers agreed with Burke.

“There is a strong his­tor- ical re­la­tion­ship be­tween tem­per­a­ture and crime, and when it gets cold, there’s less crime,” said Matthew Ran­son, who works at Mas­sachusetts­based con­sult­ing firm Abt As­so­ci­ates. “Peo­ple just stay in­side.”

Ran­son pub­lished “Crime, Weather and Cli­mate Change” in the Jour­nal of En­vi­ron­men­tal Eco­nom­ics and Man­age­ment in 2014. For his study, he an­a­lyzed month-by-month crime data from 3,000 coun­ties across the U.S. over 30 years.

“Ba­si­cally, what I found is that when tem­per­a­tures get re­ally warm, vi­o­lent crime goes up. But when tem­per­a­tures get cold, all kinds of crime go down,” Ran­son said.

He said there are a few the­o­ries, but a pre­vail­ing one is that colder weather “ba­si­cally just makes it harder for crim­i­nals to find po­ten­tial vic­tims.”

A home­less man at­tempts to stay warm in frigid tem­per­a­tures in Den­ver on Thurs­day morn­ing. Tem­per­a­tures had dropped be­low zero overnight. RJ San­gosti, The Den­ver Post

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