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Crime Figures Compared

Engels' Description of Crime, 1844

From The Condition of the Working Class (1844):

"I look at a random heap of Ehglish journals lying before me. There is the Manchester Guardian for October 30, 1844, which reports for three days that in Salford a couple of boys had been caught stealing, and a bankrupt tradesman tried to cheat his creditors. ...

"In Oldham there was one theft, one fight between Irish women, one non-union hatter assaulted by union men, one mother beaten by her son, one attack upon the police, and one robbery from a church.

"In Stockport, there was discontent of working men with wages, one theft, one fraud, one fight, and one wife beaten by her husband. In Warrington there was one theft, and one fight. In Wigan there was one fight, and one robbery from a church."

Getting Even Better by 1901

"Forty eight years later," Norman Dennis pointed out (Daily Mail, 2 Dec 2000), "Engels was forced to admit that the country had become more law abiding. He noted improvements since 1844 meant that the shocking conditions he had originally described belonged, in many respects, to the past. He concluded the average Briton had become the model workman. In 1901 the Home Office could record with pride that the nation had witnessed 'a great change in manners: the substitution of words without blows for blows without words; the approximation of the manners of different classes, and a decline in the spirit of lawlessness."

Getting Much Worse by 2001

Contrast this with statistics today (also from Dennis): Southwark, London had 166 robberies in September 2000, in England as a whole, there were 164,000 robberies in 1981, 183,000 in 1991, 353,000 in 1999. (Yet to find stats for 2001, but I wanted to rhyme 2001 with 1901!)

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Created: 20 January 2002. Last updated: 1 January 2009 .end, .nav.