Sussex Police fall for full moon lunacy
The Sussex police force is going to be putting more officers on the street during full moons because they believe the lunar cycle may be linked to violent behaviour. They cite a comparison between last year’s violent crimes and a graph of the full moons, conducted by Inspector Andy Parr.
Forgive me for thinking that Inspector Andy is unlikely to have the kind of skills in statistical analysis required to tell the difference between significance and synchronicity. At the very least, he should be able to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, all the research that has gone before, conducted by actual professionals, could trump his informal little study.
According to skepdic, a metastudy conducted in 1996 that looked at over 100 other studies on the moon’s relationship to earthly events (other than tides) concluded that the studies had so far failed to show any reliable or significant correlation between lunar cycles and any of the following:
- the homicide rate
- traffic accidents
- crisis calls to police or fire stations
- domestic violence
- births of babies
- major disasters
- casino payout rates
- aggression by professional hockey players
- violence in prisons
- psychiatric admissions
- agitated behavior by nursing home residents
- gunshot wounds
- emergency room admissions
- behavioral outbursts of psychologically challenged rural adults
But I guess they didn’t specifically add ‘aggressive behavior in drinkers in the seaside city of Brighton and Hove’, so it’s hardly an exhaustive study.