NEW YORK, June 18 (UPI) -- In the heat of summertime, the streets of the big city become deadlier, an analysis by The New York Times shows.
A summer spike in killings is among the key findings in the newspaper's analysis of homicide records from 2003 to 2008. The pattern stretches back decades, the Times said, and the homicide rate spikes from June to September.
In recent years, September Saturday nights around 10 p.m. were the most likely times for a slaying in the city. Firearms have been the weapon used most often, in about 60 percent of homicides, the newspaper reported.
Other cities such as Chicago, Boston and Newark see the same trend, the Times said.
In New York, the trend predates the Times' findings, going back to at least 1981, said Steven Messner, a criminology professor at the State University of New York at Albany.
The summer surge in killing reflects the routines of people in the city, Messner said.
"Homicides vary with social acting," he said. "It evolves from interactions."
In summer, he said, casual drinkers and drug users are more likely to go to bars or parties on weekends and evenings, spilling out into streets -- and sometimes fueling violence.