The Industrial Revolution was a period of great change; all through out the world people were flocking in hundreds upon thousands out of the villages and into the city. In Britain the population shot up from “10 million in 1750 to 42 million in 1900” ("Crime and Punishment," par 1). Life in these cities was not only new, but also down right difficult to adjust to, people lived in overcrowded housing, disease was everywhere, and working conditions were unsafe. The people who moved into London, and other industrial cities, during the second Industrial Revolution were poor and desperate. As more and more people moved into the already packed and overcrowded cities did the crime rate rise? If it did rise, what was the stimulus that caused the rise in crime?
Did Crime Even Rise?
In order to find out what caused crime rates to rise; one must first determine whether or not crime actually rose during the time period. Manuel Eisner in his Long-Term Historical Trends in Violent Crime claims that by using homicides as an indicator one can opt that crime actually showed a downward trend during the second industrial revolution (Eisner 85). But Eisner fault lies in the fact that his work only looks at violent crime. David Philips claims this may appear to be because of lack of “full-time paid uniformed police forces” thus the inaccurate, “uncoordinated” system, “contained apparent contradictions” (O'Brien and Quinault 156). Philips goes on to plot an upward trend in crime using committals and not just violent crime like Eisner; Philips plot shows a “very clear and rapid increase” in crime, one that was larger that could be accounted for by population increase alone (O'Brien and Quinault 158). Phi...
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Lane, Roger. "Crime and Industrial Revolution: British and American Views." Journal of Social History 7.3 (1974): 287-303. JStor. Web. 4 Feb. 2010.
Meyrick, Samuel R. Letter to Sir Robert Peel. 1829. Crime and Punishment : The Cause of Crimes. The National Archives UK. Web. 6 Feb. 2010.
O'Brien, Patrick, and Roland Quinault, eds. The Industrial Revolution and British Society. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993. Print.
Salt, Sir Titus. Industrial Revolution: Saltaire Housing Development near Bradford. 1850. Photograph. England. ArtStor. Web. 3 Feb. 2010.
"Total Crimes by Country." NationMaster - World Statistics. Web. 10 Mar. 2010.
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