Urban crime in early modern London – Research Paper Example

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The following table shows the various categories of crimes committed during the chosen period. This analysis is based on a careful study of the documents posted under “City of London sessions” on the London Lives project website. Table 1: Analysis of crime during the year 1715 Case# Date Description of the criminal Type of crime Other details 1 5th Aug, Male Theft Stole a horse 2 17th Dec Female Theft Stole a box with valuables worth more than hundred pounds 3 Jan, 1715 Female Pick-pocketing Mary Sound – a notorious pick-pocketer stole money at London bridge 4 20th Jan Male & Female Theft Stole stuff from an acquaintance and believed to have pawned the same at a higher price 5 Jan, 1715 Male Theft Stole sacks of mault, from someone’s house and sold them for a price 6 Jan, 1715 Female – Elizabeth Young, a single woman Theft Stole several times from several people and regularly sold it for a price 7 13th Feb Female Theft Francis Pitchell – a house maid, stole several bed sheets and pawned them for a price 8 16th Jan Male Forgery Fraudulently changed the amount on a banknote 9 31st May Male Theft Stole a mare and sold it 10 14th May Male Theft Stole money from an acquaintance house 11 11th May Male Theft Stole several pairs of boys shoes 12 3rd May Male Burglary The thief broke into a house and stole money, as well as jewels 13 3rd May Male Theft Repeatedly stole several pairs of men’s & women’s shoes, from his master, and divided the money with an accomplice 14 3rd May Male Homicide Involved in a physical brawl, used swords which eventually led to the death of the opponent 15 3rd May Male Embezzlement the accused skilfully altered the print on banknotes to change the amount 16 10th Dec Female Theft A prostitute – Mary Knight along with her accomplice Margaret Hopkins, stole money from a seaman On the basis of the above table, most of the crimes (11/16) stated as a part of this study were categorized as “theft” while the others fell under the category of Homicide (rare), embezzlement, and pick-pocketing (which could alternatively be classified as theft).

Most of the crimes committed were on a small scale, and were not organized in nature. The individuals involved mostly robbed items which could be pawned or traded in the market in exchange for money. The cases studied, indicated that robbery on a grand scale, or theft of expensive items such as jewels or a bank heist were rare. The period studied, included a range of petty crimes ranging from small offences such as theft involving small amounts, to planned robberies, which involved theft of various goods, and in some cases livestock.



Old Bailey Online ORG (2011). London, 1715-1760: Historical background [Online] Available at: http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/static/London-life18th.jsp [Accessed: December 19, 2011]

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