Reforming the Nineteenth Century Police System

4047 Words17 Pages
Reforming the Nineteenth Century Police System American cities of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries had problems with crime, vice, and disorder. Some urbanites complained about the extent of prostitution, brawling and robbery. Yet few cities felt cities felt impelled to make subsequent changes in the traditional pattern of night watch and unsalaried police officers before the 1830s. There are many reasons for problems getting worse in American cities. One reason for this is that serious crimes, by the standard of subsequent decades at any rate, were infrequent. Another reason was because there was a good deal of corruption in the old system of policing. The geographical growth of the cities and its population was increased. The crime was happening more frequently. There were a lot of problems in the old system of policing. As a result, in major cities like New York, there was a demand for reforming the police system. By the 1830s, larger northern cities found their problems of crime and disorder overpowering the traditional instruments for dealing with them. The old system was not able to maintain order or prevent crimes. This coincided with a tremendous growth of urban population. America was shifting from a farming civilization to a big business society. Also there was mass immigration into the United States and many men and women settled in cities. For example, cities such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia underwent rapid social and economic change in this time period. Because of the pace of this change, the policing system could not keep maintain order. Maintaining order seemed imperative and the demands for reform increased as well. Immigration jumped substantially after 1830. The total number of arrivals at the port of New York was more than three times greater in the 1830s than it had been the previous decade and there was a great movement on Manhattan Island as well as many other major cities. From time to time New York State officials extended the city’s lamp and watch district, the area in which the municipal corporation was to provided street lighting and watch protection and to collect taxes to pay for these services.[1] Boston had twice as many people in 1840 as twenty years before. This caused problems in the urban cities.
Open Document