Drinkers in the dock at the turn of the last century

editorial image

CRIME, they reckon is falling, and the character of crime changing.

Burglaries are down, for instance, but internet fraud massively on the rise. As society changes, so does the nature of its offending.

I thought you might be interested in something I came across, which is an annual report by a Chief Constable of Shields at the turn of the last century.

Drunkenness was the overwhelming issue tackled by police, with 1,201 cases in the town (bearing in mind that the boundaries didn’t extend anywhere near as far out as they do now). There had also been:

n 315 cases of larceny.

n 113 assaults on police.

n 299 common assaults.

n 21 cases of cruelty to animals.

n 21 cases of cruelty to, or neglect of, children.

n 192 incidents of riotous conduct.

n Seven offences against the Vaccination Act.

n 35 cases of begging.

n 49 cases of sleeping out.

n 99 gaming offences.

n And 13 offences of living off the earnings of prostitution.

One person, a woman, was also sent to an “inebriates’ reformatory”.