The Good Old Days--they Were Terrible! - Chapter 6, Crime Summary & Analysis

Otto Bettmann
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Chapter 6, Crime Summary and Analysis

Between 1860 and 1890, crime rose a total of 445 percent according to one statistic. While the gun violence of the American West is well known, urban crime was just as damaging and commonplace.

Street crime, in a time when streets were very poorly lit, ran rampant, especially at night. There were no real gun laws, allowing any drunk or thug to carry a concealed weapon. The public was very pessimistic about this situation.

Juvenile delinquency was also common. Youth gangs terrorized neighborhoods. Arrested boys could become locked up with grown men convicts, with the convict acting as a further corrupting influence. Boys were widely regarded as troublemakers and could be arrested for the slightest perceived offense. As a result, many young men became suspicious of and disrespectful of the law, exacerbating the problem.

Police were hardly much help. Poorly trained and...

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This section contains 476 words
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