Some random contextual crime figures6,7

These figures relate to England and Wales.

Year Serious
Crime
Population Recorded
Crime
Prison
population
Number of police /
Population per policeman /
Annual cost
1841-5  13.4 per 100,000        
1851         about 13,400 police
about 1,344 per police officer
1861   20,066,224 88,000   20,750 police
9.37 per police officer
£1,579,000
1857-65     276.7 per 100,000    
1871         27,425 police
828 per police officer
£2,243,000
1881         32,032 police
810 per police officer
£3,157,000
1886 79,000        
1886-1895     194 per 100,000    
1891         39,673 police
731 per police officer
£3,971,000
1896-1900 8.6 per 100,000        
1900 4.7 murders per million     17,435
1900-01
 
1908 105,000        
1909 105,000        
1910       unavailable  
1911   36,075,269 97,000 19,797
1911-12
 
1913 98,000 36 million      
1914-18 78,000
average
       
1920 101,000     11,000
1920-21
 
1921   37,886,689 103,000    
1925-29 3.7 murders per million        
1930 122 murders,
91 attempts;
3.1 murders per million
       
1931   39,948,000 159,000 11,346
1930-3
 
1941   41,748,000 359,000 9,377
1940-41
 
1951   43,745,000 525,000 20,474
1950-51
 
1961   46,166,000 807,000 27,099
1960-61
 
1971   48,604,000 1,666,000 39,028  
1980 2,521,000 49 million   42,300  
1981   49,011,000 2,963,00*    
1990       45,636  
1991   49,890,000 5,276,200    
1999       64,770  
2001   53,137,000 5,200,000**    
2002       passed 70,000 for the first time  

* Changes in the law mean crime figures after 1980 are not strictly comparable but continue to show trends.

** These figures have been disputed but again indicate trends.

Murder varied seldom above one hundred and seventy and often fell below one hundred and thirty including abortionist and infanticides.

In 1949 68% of men and 95% of women sentenced to death granted a reprieve.

Although crime statistics are notoriously opaque there is strong evidence to suggest that the peak of nineteen century crime came in the early 1840s and this was followed by a fairly steady decline until the end of the century - it seems improbable that the growth in policing did not play some important role in this process.8


6 Compiled by the author from figures in Hitchens, Peter (2003). A Brief History of Crime, Atlantic Books.

7 Theodore Hopper, K. (1998). The Mid Victorian Generation, Clarenden Press, p. 116.

8 Theodore Hopper, K. (1998). The Mid Victorian Generation, Clarenden Press, p. 116.

 

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