Tutu cold for Disney, dancers and do-badders
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