Fears full moon to blame for mini-crime wave

MUCH of the Northern Rivers was hit by a mini-crime wave over the weekend, with street assaults and car thefts jumping, sparking speculation the criminal behaviour was influenced by the full moon.

Police from Richmond Local Area Command said the violent crime spree started at 11.30pm on Friday and ended at lunchtime on Sunday. In the interim 11 people were assaulted, four vehicles stolen, and 14 others broken into and items stolen.

“Car thefts were higher than normal and assaults were a lot higher than we would normally get,” Inspector Greg Moore said.

“It's a worry, but it seems to be a seasonal thing that happens this time of year. We did have extra police on over the weekend.”

Alcohol was involved in the majority of the assaults, police said, but time was not a factor, with two occurring in the early afternoon.

Tweed/Byron police, who could not provide exact numbers, said that while they had a busy weekend responding to various assaults and other crimes, there were no more than usual for this time of year.

The full moon effect is much debated among scientists, psychologists, police and astrologers.

This full moon rose on Friday night and is, unusually, offering sky-watchers a view of the biggest and brightest full moon seen since 1993.

“You can't ignore the full moon,” Insp Moore said. “It's obviously a consideration that there is a higher incident of things like mental illness around the times of a full moon, so that does play a part in the pattern.

“It's seen as a bit of an old wives' tale, but it does sometimes seem to be a factor in an escalation of mental health admissions.”

Many believe that the full moon affects moods, leading to increased crime, injuries and psychiatric ward admissions.

Dave Reneke, News Editor of Sky & Space Magazine, became interested in the topic and conducted his own investigation into the link between the two.

“There is a tendency for people to act differently during a full moon,” he said.

“I got curious about this some time ago and decided to look into it.”

After speaking to nurses, doctors and police, Mr Reneke believes there is a strong link.

“There really is an increase in admissions to hospital casually wards, there really are a lot of people who have accidents in the home, and a lot more people get into fights on the street.”

Still, Mr Reneke dismisses the idea that the moon has mood-altering rays.

“It's nothing to do with mysterious rays from the moon, nothing to do with astrology or anything mysterious,” he said. “It's simply this: It's because it's brighter. There are more people outside and in areas of population density, so with more people out for a longer period of time it means, statistically, you are going to have things happening.”

In Britain, police on the street were doubled in June last year in preparation for a full moon.

Together with pay days, full moons were identified as a time when aggression rose, particularly among drinkers in pubs and clubs.

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