Challenges Faced by London in Its History

Published: 2021-07-08 16:55:04
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Industrialization inflicted change on economic ties amongst the various classes. Industrialization also occured at the same time as urbanization increased. (White, Jerry) London was regarded as the main city of commerce and industry in England. This is why so many people went to london, filling up its streets. (Tatlock, Julie C.)
Large number of people coming in to London created a lot of issues since the majority of these people were homeless and were not able to find employability. (White, Jerry) The church assistance was very difficult to enforce to assist these people. (Tatlock, Julie C.) (The British Library)In 1824, a lawyer and historian named John Adolphus was writing against a change that was applied to the homelessness law. This change enforced a penalty for:
Individuals who would flee from their own families so that they can gain assistance from the church.
Individuals who had the capability of carrying out work but still refused to work, so that they themselves and their families would gain assistance from the church.
Prostitutes who were offering sex on streets. (Tatlock, Julie C.) (The Vagrant Act)
John Adolphus did not agree with this change since he depicted this as a abuse by the authorities. But it was evident that the connection between poor individuals and criminal activity was very apparent.(Tatlock, Julie C.) (The Vagrant Act)
London was very dangerous to individuals who could not defend themselves against thieves. For example individuals who were involved in trade, could not find adequate protection for their precious items. (Tatlock, Julie C.) Also in some occasions, individuals who visited london assisted criminals through taking part in enjoyable activities such as sex or drinking. People who got drunk were most likely to go to disorderly houses. They would have an enjoyable time and the criminals running the disorderly houses would gain more profit and customers. (Mayhew, Henry)
According to british statesman Robert peel, he claimed that there were three main causes contributing to increasing crime. (Hurd, Douglas) The first cause was the huge amount of wealth that was present which triggered offences to increase. Economic gains and profitability in England increased temptations of the criminals. (White, Jerry) The second cause was the exponential expansion of enterprise, a system that was only based on economic profit. The third cause was alcohol. (Tatlock, Julie C.) It had a major impact on property being stolen or damaged. Alcohol made individuals very aggressive and triggered them to carry out harmful actions and ruin economic practices. Drinking alcohol was considered as the most harmful thing to do.
According to Hammick, James T. “Journal of the statistical society”, increasing actions of crime was very evident and he states that the connection between crime and poverty was very strong. The misery of the poor hard working labour class needed to be addressed. (Flanders, Judith) The labour class was experiencing major unemployment, marriage at a very young age, to prevent imprisonment or to gain more adequate assistance from the church system. These factors influenced the labour class to choose the only alternative they had which was crime in order to gain a better standard of living. ( Hammick James T) (Tatlock, Julie C.)
It was apparent to everyone that there was increasing crime, especially visible in urbanized regions. Strategies needed to be implemented to reduce this crime. The government was not responding adequately to this matter. (Douglas Hurd) According to Robert Peel, the government was not providing sufficient protection for property which harms the society since there is increased opportunity for committing crime. (Tatlock, Julie C.)
The Parliament responded to the increasing crime, by discussing the “nature of punishment” for criminals. Lashes and death sentence was abolished and was switched to prison sentence. In 1819, the old bailey delivered a police report to the house of commons. It consisted of judgements based of police officers and lawyers on the nature of punishment. The individuals at the old bailey investigated if the harshness of the sentence given for harmful crimes committed, for example simple larceny, caused fewer sentences. (Tatlock, Julie C.)
An additional report was submitted to the house of commons in 1828. The old bailey claims that, Judges at the court wanted to decrease properties value under the actual amount of the property, in stealing crimes where the punishment given was based on the value of the property stolen. (Mayhew Henry) According to Henry Mayhew, there was a local trader who became victim to a pickpocketer. A lot of money was stolen from the trader. However the trader did not go to court and the pickpocketer was not sentenced. The reason why the trader did not go to court, was because of the punishment that the criminal would have received, which would have been a very long prison sentence due to the amount that was stolen. The trader empathized with the criminal and understood the criminals actions due to the individuals poor condition. (Tatlock, Julie C.)
Clive Emsley claims that more terror is evoked when more executions occur. ( Emsley, Clive) This has a major effect on society. More executions occuring would create a very devastating effect. There was much greater relief when individuals received punishment due to Pickpocketing since pickpocketing was a harmless crime and the punishment was not so severe and harsh as for other crimes. (Tatlock, Julie C.) (Google Books)
According to Robert Peel, law practiced in the courts changed. (Hurd, Douglas) He claims that justice established in the courts had been changed and was more fair. Especially with females and child criminals, the judge was more fair with the punishment that they received. The entire criminal justice system was reshaped and strengthened. ( Mayhew, Henry) (Tatlock, Julie C.)
An important group of people that need to be addressed, who were not part of the court or authorities, were the people who wanted to make change, also known as the reformers. Reformers were very concerned with the acts of abuse that were carried out in prisons and the enforcement of death sentences. (Mayhew, Henry) According to Henry Mayhew, prisons had very poor conditions. The prisoners were all restricted, but they were not controlled properly. (Flanders Judith) There was a lot of violence going on, a lot of drinking and there was no order. Reformers wanted to reform these institutions and also reduce the harshness of the sentences, especially the death penalty. (Mayhew, Henry) Henry Mayhew also claims that the government enforced the death penalty to scare society aiming to reduce crime. However, there is no evidence that supports that the severity of the sentence had an impact on decreasing crime rates. (Tatlock, Julie C.)
This might be a bit strange for people that believe that executions are effective in reducing crime rates since it has a major impact on society. According to R. Rawson judicial statistics, in 1818 there were 107,000 thousand individuals locked up in prison which shows a large number of crime being committed. (Rawson, Rawson W.) (Tatlock, Julie C.)
According to clive Emsley, the law was not preventing crime from occuring. Instead, increasing crime was occuring. Crime in england increased and england had the highest crime rates compared to the other european countries. (Emsley, Clive.) (Tatlock, Julie C.)
However, robbery accompanied with violence and murder were crimes that were charged with the death penalty and these two crimes decreased. (Hammick James.T) Also crimes that were not so strong such as shoplifting, were appointed as strong crimes.This shows that harscher and stronger crimes decreased indicating that criminals had a sense of humanity in them. Clive emsley was sure that these criminal offenders could be changed. ( Emsley, Clive) He believed that the Law in england could establish justice and that this justice should be guided by elements of humanity. The society in england had a sense of the elements of humanity and justice. If the judges shared this same sense of humanity and justice, the people of england would join the law and enforce justice on the criminal offenders. But if the law does not share this sense of humanity and justice like the society does, then society will turn against the law. (Tatlock, Julie C.)
The house of commons, judges and reformers were seeking to reform the law however they did not have an a chord on finding the most effective ways to build a much more consolidated system of law. (Tatlock, Julie C.)
According to professor Mcgowen, there were clashing views on the harshness of the sentences given by the existing law at that time. (McGowen, Randall.) He also states that the judges and lawyers who were supportive of the existing law claim that reforming the law would create false judgements of Human and criminal nature. (Google Books) Crime is triggered by emotions and temptations. This needs to be suppressed and the only way to suppress them is to enforce very harsh sentences. However, laws were enforced in response to these harsch statements, which removed the death sentence for certain crimes such as shoplifting. (Tatlock, Julie C.)
Additional disagreements were arising among the people about creating a police team. Even though there was increasing crime in urban areas, some individuals thought that the police was cruel. A lot of discussions were made by the house of commons on implementing changes to the law in the time frame 1815-1834. But they were actually interested in systemizing the system of law and enforcing the law more. A piece of evidence that backs this claim was a committee that was created by the house of commons in the 1816. The purpose of this committee was to observe criminal activity and police activity that was taking place in London. (Tatlock, Julie C.)
The committee delivered a report which contained issues based on people who could not pay debts to women working as prostitutes. The report discusses that it would be beneficial to implement a more consolidated system. This report contained views of lawyers and civil officers from the investigators questioning. Nathaniel conent who was a decorated civil officer answered to the following question. “Do you think that establishing a central police department within the police department, that would coordinate the whole of the police department of the metropolis, would create improvement? Nathaniel Conent answered: From my professional opinion, it would be too expensive to build such an establishment. But I think it could create improvement to a great extent. The report had many facts and views that supported improving the standards and order in London. (Tatlock, Julie C.)
Reformers were supportive of implementing a police force since they knew that this was a good choice. However, they were skeptical since they were not sure whether this police force could batte london which was a large and growing city. (Hurd. Douglas) The concerns were if there was adequate control of police officers, if the police officers would misuse their authority and if the small numbers in the police force are able to battle the large numbers of people. (White, Jerry) However, in 1829, the Metropolitan Police force was created. (Emsley Clive) (Tatlock, Julie C.)
An additional problem that the house of commons faced was the payment the victims had to pay when prosecuting someone. For example if 20 pounds was stolen from an individual, that individual would have to pay 40 pounds to prosecute the pickpocketer. This would discourage the individual to prosecute the criminal. The house of commons discussed other strategies to decrease crime such as banning selling alcohol and consuming alcohol, increasing police activity and observations of places where crime was very evident. (Tatlock, Julie C.)
London was facing a increasing danger which were the increasing number of thieves. This observation was very clear since most of the crimes committed were related to property. Robert peel states that there was no increase in crimes related to violence. (Hurd,Douglas) The Crimes that were increasing were property crimes. House of commons were striving to minimize this increasing crime. But they needed to find out why property crime was so noticeable. According to the authorities of London , crimes associated with violence were decreasing. (Flanders, Judith) Males were committing more crimes associated with violence than females. (Hammick, James.T) The most committed crime of violence was assault associated with stealing. The results collected in 1834 are not much different from the results collected in 1815. The interesting aspect that is evident here is the numbers of crimes committed do not increase exponentially as population increase occurs. This piece of evidence indicates that crimes associated with violence were decreasing. (Tatlock, Julie C.)

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