Crimes against person and property 1700-1900

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  • Two different attitudes to highwaymen in 18 Century
    • Factors that increased crime
      • The period 1700 to 1850 crimes such as street theft and burglary, prostitution dramatically increased. Reasons for this:
        • People travelling moving into towns meant fewer people knew each other and communities were less tightly knit
        • Larger towns meant it was easier to escape law
        • Some criminals became 'professional'
        • Extreme poverty led to rise of survival crimes such as theft of food.
    • Highway Robbery
      • Highway robbery increased:
        • Improved roads led to more people travelling increased trade between towns meant more goods and money were traded via road
        • Many roads were isolated, making it easy to get away with highway robbery
        • In 1772, to try to reduce highway robbery it became a capital crime to be armed and in disguise on a high road.
          • Mounted patrols on major roads and growth of railways helped reduce instances of highway robbery, which disappeared complete in 1830s
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      • Famous highwayman **** Turpin like many others usually sensationalized and viewed as heroes despite committing many violent crimes
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      • Changes in poaching
        • Most poaching gangs worked on large scales
        • Led to Walt-ham Black Act,which made it a capital crime and illegal to carry snares or own hunting dogs. Many viewed this is unfair, repealed in 1823
    • Changes in smuggling- property
      • Smuggling increased from 1740-1850 because tax on imported goods was so high. Smugglers made large profits by bringing these goods into country without tax and then selling on
      • This led to large smuggler gangs such as the Hawkhurst gang, which smuggled large volumes of goods. Mounted customs officers tried to prosecute smugglers. This was difficult  because areas to control were so large Taxes cut in 1840s and it decreased. Were viewed as heroes and gave smugglers alibis
        • Smuggling increased from 1740-1850 because tax on imported goods was so high. Smugglers made large profits by bringing these goods into country without tax and then selling on

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