Nov 14, 2020 in History

Crime Rate
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Crime in the USA in 1890-1940

The historical period from 1890 to 1940 in the United States is associated with the growth of immigration, the political changes, and the urbanization. Those aspects made a considerable impact on the social life in the country, especially in the field of crime.

It is believed that the immigrants are more likely to commit a crime than the local population of the country. However, the criminologists state that the immigrants have the lower rates of arrest and incarceration comparing with the native population. The newcomers tend to commit minor offenses, such as heavy drinking and vagrancy. Though, the crime rates are alarmingly high among the immigrants children who are referred as the second generation immigrants. Therefore, the immigrants who came to the US between 1890 and 1940 did not considerably increase the number of crimes in the country, but their children appeared to be involved in the crime.

The public concern about the increasing crime rate before World War I demanded the decisive response of the government. Therefore, the government measures included the introduction of the electric chair, the acceptance of the Emergency Immigration Act, and the creation of professional police force to diminish the flow of immigrants into the country. Those means were expected to reduce the crime rate in the state.

The transformation of America into the urban nation resulted in the growing crime rate in the cities. The extension of urban areas led to the increasing number of murders, robbery, theft, prostitution, and the emergence of organized gangs. The cases of bribery contributed to the lack of law enforcement in the country.

The time between 1890 and 1940 in the US was characterized by the high level of criminality. While the offenses of immigrants did not contribute much to the general crime rate, the urban crime number was rather high. The government measures to diminish the criminality in the state were successful.

Police Force in 20th Century

The police force in America had considerably changed within the 20th century. The changes were caused primarily by the police professionalism and the application of modern technologies. The reformation of the police system and the adoption of new techniques in the crime investigation contributed to the development of the qualified American police.

The improvement of the professionalism aimed at the reformation of the corrupt and ineffective police agencies that emerged in the course of the 19th century. While the police were not able to make people obey the law, the reformers concentrated on the elimination of political influence hiring skilled leaders and improving the standards of the personnel. The professionalism movement made the police agencies the centralized bureaucracies concentrated mainly on the crime control. The majority of them adopted more reliable recordkeeping systems with the newly developed fingerprinting system for identifying criminals, lie detectors, and science-based crime labs in criminal investigations. Finally, another significant improvement was the state highway police that assisted in the control of traffic. All these changes were crucial for the professionalization of the police force in America.

 
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The emergence of new technologies also contributed to the development of modern police force. The revolution in policing was caused by the application of the telephone, the two-way radio, and the patrol car. While it was previously impossible to contact a police officer on the beat, the two-way radio informed a policeman about the call for service and contacted him directly. The patrol cars made the police officers more mobile and responsive to the calls received from the residents. Thus, the modern technologies made the police force more effective and accessible to the citizens.

The police force experienced the radical transformations during the 20th century. From the inefficient state system, it became the politically free authority with the effective methods of work. This result was achieved through the reformation of the system and the use of modern technologies in the work.

Changes in Criminal Activity after WWII

Since the war may be considered as a violation of international law, it always changes the public perception of the concept of crime. The horrible events during World War II resulted in the emergence of war crimes. In addition, certain economic, social, and political factors altered the public and media understanding of crime.

The acts of violence committed during World War II changed the general principles and definition of a crime. Apparently, the system had to find the appropriate legal answer to such an enormous cruelty. The established list of war crimes included the crimes against peace and the crimes against humanity. The leaders of the appalling massacre are responsible for that cruelty. War crimes were the most serious international crimes.

The criminal activity after World War II was determined by several factors. First of all, the unemployment caused by the war led to an increase in violent crimes. Mass migration of millions of families to the suburbs resulted in the increase of suburban crime rates, primarily in the rates of property crimes, including burglary and vandalism. Federal civil rights liberalization implicated the federal government in the crime control, making federal lawmakers responsible for the civil rights.

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The media representation of crime during the post-war period underwent certain changes. The degree of violence depicted in the presentation of the crimes increased considerable making the audience feel pain in the majority of cases. The attention was also given to the representation of ancillary crimes that were not the central focus of the story. In general, the media representation of crime corresponded to the society that lived under the threat of violence and death.

The perception of crime in the post-war time changed tremendously. The horror of the war crimes together with the social and economic instability in the country led to the increase of crime rate. In addition, the scenes of violence depicted by the media reflected the social attitude to crime and cruelty.

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