Can Pools Help to Deter Crime?

One response to the violent unrest of the late 1960s was New York's installation of a network of swimming pools. The idea: give people a refreshing escape, and a way to cool – literally – the emotions that can lead to violence. No solid evidence proves a causal effect, but serious crime in the city dropped significantly and immediately. In 2020, after the pandemic closed all city pools until late July and then only some reopened, the city experienced a surge in gun violence. Says one sociologist: "There will be problems" when people are cooped up without recreation options.

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