Data Analysis: Zodiac Signs and Crime

OK, I’m back with another installment of strange, fun, weird (insert your own adjective here) news from the world of big data and data analytics.

signsYou know, like the post I wrote about data analytics and the Loch Ness Monster. However, this tale comes not from across the pond, but rather from our neighbors to the north.

It seems that near the end of 2011, police in the rural town of Chatham-Kent, Ontario figured it would it be a good idea – for some reason known only to them – to rank the crimes committed that year by the criminals’ Zodiac signs.

Although violent crime is rare in Chatham-Kent, there are a high number of break-ins.

So, the Chatham-Kent Police Service decided to throw some data analysis at the problem to determine if more people born under one astrological sign ended up in the pokey that year than people born under a different sign.

Kind of gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “What’s your sign?”

Well, Const. Michael Pearce, a police spokesman, used an Excel spreadsheet to classify the data of the 1,986 people arrested during the first 11 months of 2011. Then, to provide an interesting astrological perspective, Pearce applied an algorithm to the birth dates of all the arrestees.

After Pearce crunched the data he found that:

  • 203 of the criminals were born under the sign of Aries: March 21-April 19
  • 189 were born under the sign of Libra: Sept. 23 to Oct. 22
  • 183 were born under the sign of Virgo: August 23 to Sept. 22
  • 177 were born under the sign of Leo: July 23 to August 22
  • 169 were born under the sign of Pisces: Feb.19 to March 20
  • 166 were born under the sign of Scorpio: Oct. 23 to Nov. 21
  • 166 were born under the sign of Capricorn: Dec. 22 to Jan. 19
  • 159 were born under the sign of Gemini: May 21 to June 20
  • 147 were born under the sign of Cancer: May 21 to June 2
  • 146 were born under the sign of Taurus: April 20 to May 20
  • 142 were born under the sign of Aquarius: Jan. 20 to Feb. 18
  • 139 were born under the sign of Sagittarius: Nov. 22 to Dec. 21

Criminologists and astrologists, though, aren’t too high on the data output, but then again neither is the officer who did the analysis.

“You can’t really read too much into it,” Pearce tells the National Post. “I don’t comment too much on the Zodiac stuff because I don’t want any backlash about it. I am not drawing any conclusions about it.”

However, Georgia Nicols, the National Post’s horoscope writer at the time, notes that the results of Chatham-Kent’s analysis make some sense.

“Aries is the sign of the warrior,” she notes. “Aries rules the military. Aries jump in head first, and love adventure. A lot of people in the newsroom are Aries.”

She suggests that people born under the sign of Sagittarius are at the bottom of the list because they don’t get caught.

“They are smooth,” she says. “They can talk anybody into anything.”

Janet Markham, who has studied cosmology at the University of Wales, notes that when it comes to a criminals, an analysis comparing both the years of birth and birthdates would yield more clues than sun sign comparisons alone.

“I don’t know how you would say that one sign is more aligned to criminality than another,” she says. “If you are looking at criminals, you might be better to look at their whole horoscope.”

If there’s anyone out there who wants to undertake such a massive project there’s an actual astrological database that contains tons of data for hundreds, if not thousands of criminals, as well as other people.

The purpose of the database is to make this data available for astrological research, for astrological publications and for serious astrological discussion. The access to the data for these purposes is free.

For example, the database provides all the astrological data for Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Pres. John F. Kennedy. Oswald was born on Oct. 18, 1939, which makes him a Libra.

And there’s also astrological data for Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated Bobby Kennedy. Sirhan’s birthdate is March 19, 1944. He’s a Pisces.

I’m not sure if crime can be tied to a person’s zodiac or astrological sign, but it sure would be interesting to analyze all that data and find out.

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Linda Rosencrance
Spotfire Blogging Team