Crime, drugs rose after intense weather

Dec. 22, 2009 at 2:16 PM
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WACO, Texas, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- People who believe storms today are more intense than they were years ago are more likely to prepare for bad weather, a Texas scientist said.

Sara Alexander, an anthropologist at Baylor University, studied how households in Belize reacted to climate-related "shocks," such as hurricanes and floods, the university said in a release Monday.

People who believed storms had gotten worse over the years were more likely to prepare when weather forecasters predicted fierce weather, Alexander said.

Households with higher levels of financial security tended to find emotional support by using their savings or selling their assets to deal with climate-related shocks, while poorer households turned to family, friends and faith for emotional support.

Crime and self-reported alcohol and drug abuse increased after major weather events such as Hurricane Dean in 2007 and Tropical Storm Arthur in 2008, Alexander said.

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