The Moon and Crime


The Moon and Crime


The moon has been implicated for centuries as a contributing force to the ebb and flow of crime on planet Earth. In 1896, an article in The Hazel Green Herald newspaper explained that criminals use superstitions about the moon as a deciding factor in the likelihood of a successful heist. “Not one burglar in 30 will venture out on a house-breaking expedition on the night of a new moon.” A century later, the possible relationship between the phases of the moon and crime waves on Earth are now scientific research. In 1984, Thakur and Shama concluded that it was the full moon that had the most impact. “The incidence of crimes committed on full moon days was much higher than on all other days, new moon days, and seventh days after the full moon and new moon.” But, hold on! Before blaming the moon for the errant ways of humans, perhaps a closer look at the celestial body’s formative years might be in order. The moon had a smaller sister, or so that is the theory. Scientists have been trying to figure out if there was a sister moon, then what happened to that sister. “Traces of this 'other' moon linger in a mysterious dichotomy between the Moon's visible side and its remote farside, says Erik Asphaug, a planetary scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who co-authored the study with Martin Jutzi, now of the University of Berne.” Not all agree, but one conclusion is that during the formative years of the two moons, there was a mash-up. “In the hours after the impact, gravity would have crushed the impactor [younger moon] to a relatively thin layer, pasted on top of the [older] Moon's existing crust.” It’s all theory. But maybe, just maybe, the wave of crime sprees on Earth are actually being impacted by that other moon.


Spencer Cooper




1. "Superstitions of criminals," Hazel Green Herald, 1896-06-04, p13.
2. C P Thakur and D Sharma. "Full moon and crime," British Medical Journal (Clinical Research Ed.), 1984 Dec 22; 289(6460): 1789–1791
3. Richard Lovett. "Early Earth may have had two moons," published online 3 August 2011 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news.2011.456


Reinette Jones, University of Kentucky Librarian & African American Studies Academic Liaison


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