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Wintery weather doesn’t cut NH crime, but it can change it
In the summer, Wolfeboro police are busy with traffic stops, drunken driving arrests and other problems that are common to a community that balloons in size during the warm weather. But after the summer folks head home and the dark of winter descends on New Hampshire, different kinds of problems emerge.
At the center of the problem is drug addiction. During the summer, people hooked on opiates like heroin or prescription painkillers often can fund their habits by working to serve the summer population. But when that work dries up, the addicts are left with an expensive habit, but no way to pay for it, so they often turn to crime.
Whether folks have left their summer homes behind for the winter or are just off on vacation for a week or two, burglars can use winter to their advantage.
“Come spring, we will get a proliferation of reports of past-tense burglaries as people come to open their camps or homes and realize they’ve been burglarized,” said Rondeau.
“Our department does vacant property checks on a frequent basis that we think also contributes to a lower burglary number for those residents that spend the winter in warmer places than here,” said Jaffrey Chief Bill Oswalt. “That, along with a commitment to a regular patrol presence in the neighborhoods, has had a positive impact for keeping burglaries down.”
Domestic violence calls increase when there have been several days or weeks of bad weather, said Cormier, as people begin to suffer from cabin fever and tension in the home builds.
In Jaffrey, Oswalt has seen years where domestic violence spikes in the winter — sometimes right around the holidays and sometimes in the dead of winter — but it’s not a predictable trend.
Plymouth Police Chief Stephen Lefebvre says the most notable difference his department sees in winter is a drastic increase in mental health problems. “Starting just around the holidays and through the month of March, there is always a significant increase in calls for service relating to mental health issues,” Lefebvre said.
In Durham, home of the University of New Hampshire, the cold sends revelers inside, which reduces the number of complaints police receive about loud parties, said Chief David Kurz.
But in Waterville Valley, where folks flock to ski, partiers can be a challenge.
Some towns don’t see any significant changes from season to season, including Sunapee, Colebrook, Franklin and in Lebanon, where Police Chief Gary Smith said it’s the same crimes all the time.
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