It is a common belief that more crime is committed during a full moon.

I rationalised this by assuming criminals used the increased moon light to aid them in their criminal activities with out really thinking about it.

Are there any studies that show this link? Is there any link between phases of the moon and crime?

  • 11
    I believe it's been shown that most crimes are committed within a week of either the full or new moon!
    – Khanzor
    Mar 17, 2011 at 21:30
  • 2
    Wouldn't increased moon light not be counter-productive? After all if people would want more light for their crimes they would commit them during the day, wouldn't they? May 19, 2011 at 17:04
  • @Khanzor Don't forget the ~5 minutes halfway between the full moon or new moon. May 20, 2011 at 3:30
  • Interestingly there used to be Full Moon Societies which only met on the night of a full moon for safety reasons, as it was light enough to see. EG en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_Society_of_Birmingham
    – Nick
    Oct 1, 2012 at 14:55

1 Answer 1


Ivan Kelly, James Rotton and Roger Culver (1996) examined over 100 studies on lunar effects and concluded that the studies have failed to show a reliable and significant correlation (i.e., one not likely due to chance) between the full moon, or any other phase of the moon, and each of the following:

  • the homicide rate
  • traffic accidents
  • crisis calls to police or fire stations
  • domestic violence
  • assassinations
  • kidnappings
  • aggression by professional hockey players
  • violence in prisons
  • assaults
  • gunshot wounds
  • stabbings

(Huge list omitted)


(At the bottom of that article you will find a lot more references)

This myth is a beautiful example of Confirmation Bias: Confirmation Bias

  • 1
    In areas without streetlights, I would expect that some kinds of statistics would correlate with the lunar cycle, since in the absence of artificial lighting, abundant moonlight can make it easier to be out and about. Of course, in places where streetlights provide enough illumination to make moonlight irrelevant, the phase of the moon would be much less of an issue. I wonder if any of the statisticians focused on areas without artificial lighting.
    – supercat
    Aug 1, 2015 at 17:38

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