– You have studied how holidays are connected with the number of crimes in Russia. What did you discover?
– There is a statistically significant relationship, first of all, between the days of the week – by the end of the week there are more murders. It’s like that all over the world. There is also a connection between the surge of lethal violence and holidays.
This is not a specific Russian phenomenon. He was first caught on American data, but he was confirmed on both Russian and British. I had quite a wealth of data from Russia, and my colleague Ruslan Kuchakov and I were able to see if the crimes were really related to federal holidays. For the most part, yes. If you put it on the time series over the year of the murder, you will see strong spikes from year to year on federal holidays and some religious ones.
The main holiday is the New Year, during which there is a five-fold increase. According to the “tenth” years, the average number of murders on a typical day is 45, now it is somewhat lower – in the region of 28-35. On New Year’s Day in 2009-2013, an average of 200 or more people were killed. On other federal holidays, there is an almost two-fold increase: on May 1 and 9 – under 90 murders.
There is also a religious story, for example, Easter. During it, there is also a surge in murders – this suggests that it is really celebrated.
Why do more people get killed on holidays?
– Such outbursts indicate that during the holiday a certain standard scenario is reproduced, leading to lethal violence – people sit together in a closed room, with alcohol. And most often people kill those with whom they know, with whom they have something to share. The holiday is a “Petri dish” that reproduces the environment for conflicts.
In Russia, there are regions where their own holidays are held, which are days off. Basically, these are national republics where there are Islamic, lamaist or shamanic holidays. None of them cause an upsurge of violence. Apparently, the way of celebrating these days is not so much the celebration, but the observance of traditional and family rituals that do not involve libations. They don’t involve repeating the scenario for murder.
What happens on National Unity Day?
– The so-called “new” or “artificial” holidays – November 4 and June 12 – do not cause bursts of lethal violence. More precisely, they call, but only among a specific group of people.
The typical killer in Russia is a person from marginalized segments of the population, economically unsecured, possibly convicted. On November 4, such people do not show themselves, so to speak, “take a day off.” And small bursts on this day occur among people who have a stable source of income – those with no criminal record, “clean”.
If you are not from a marginalized background, you should not be heavily addicted to alcohol on November 4, despite the fact that life around you can be difficult and unpleasant, since you are at risk. For everyone else, nothing will change that day.
— Does St. Petersburg differ in this respect?
– No, it’s not different. For the period I am considering, in the “tenths” in Russia there were about 10 murders a day per 100 thousand of the population, now, I think, much less – about 7-8. This indicator is quite cunningly calculated, since law enforcement officers hide about half of the murders in the article “causing grievous bodily harm resulting in the death of the victim” (Article 111, part 4 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).
Petersburg and Moscow are two prosperous cities. They have a rather low level of murders on average in the country, in St. Petersburg it is about half of the Russian average, in Moscow – a third. These are very modest figures by Russian standards, although high by world standards.
St. Petersburg’s 3.5-4 murders per 100,000 people a day is slightly less than in the United States, the most problematic in terms of the number of murders from industrialized countries. By European standards, this is an outrageous number of murders.
Do crimes have seasonality? What crimes to expect in the near future?
– Depends on the type of crime. There are crimes with pronounced seasonality. For example, car thefts. They have a surge in the warmer months when there are more cars outside, a dip in the colder months when there are fewer. Street thefts and petty robbery have the same seasonality. Their level increases in cold weather, as there are fewer potential witnesses on the street.
Murders in Russia have no seasonality. If you remove the holidays, you get a fairly flat time series. But this is not the case in all countries. In the US, homicides increase during the summer months, this is due to organized street crime. Roughly speaking, there are disassemblies. There have been no squabbles in Russia for 20 years.
– Bursts on what holidays are held in the USA?
Christmas, Thanksgiving, Independence Day. But they also have holidays, during which there is also no surge. On Memorial Day, Martin Luther King Day, there are no excess killings. These are federal holidays, but they are not very actively celebrated. They are most likely treated like holidays, or they are celebrated, but without much celebration.