School's back: Parents and cops rejoice

When a school bus has its lights flashing and its stop signs extended, drivers must stop — unless they are on the opposite side of the road from the bus, and there is a five-foot barrier or unpaved median. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)
Caption
When a school bus has its lights flashing and its stop signs extended, drivers must stop — unless they are on the opposite side of the road from the bus, and there is a five-foot barrier or unpaved median. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)

Credit: Damon Higgins

Credit: Damon Higgins

School's back and parents everywhere are celebrating.

One Georgia man said he saw a couple of mothers high-fiving at a grocery store, thought they’d run across a valuable coupon; instead, he said, they were simply happy to reclaim their "kids are in school" lifestyles.

But the downside of school for adults who aren't parents, as any commuter will unhappily tell you, is traffic.

Living across the street from a school means pulling out of your neighborhood takes five minutes instead of one. If you get caught behind a school bus, it takes 10.

"There is no question that traffic gets a lot worse when school is back in session," said WSB-TV traffic guru Mark Arum. "Unfortunately, it is going to get a lot worse after Labor Day."

Police, like parents, are probably happier when school is in session. Police-officer parents are doing cartwheels.

You may have heard that crime rates peak during the summer, when some teens crack locks instead of books.

Is it true? Can we blame young people?

Crime of almost every type increases during summer months, according to a study released in 2014 by the U.S. Department of Justice. Only one type of crime increases during fall months -- simple assaults (aka fights).

Why?

The DOJ says, "Simple assault victimization rates were higher among youth ages 12 to 17 than among adults age 18 and older. Simple assault rates among youth were lowest during the summer when the school year ended and highest in the fall when the school year began."

But it's not just kids.

Many experts say hot weather increases crime because people -- adults included -- are out and about and interacting with each other more.

On the flip side of the thermometer, fewer crimes are committed when it is cold.

"It just makes common sense," said Curtis Davenport of the Atlanta Police Department. "More people out, more crime; less people out, less crime."