Control of City Crime

October 18, 1961

Report Outline
Prevalence of Crime in American Cities
Obstacles to Effective Police Action
New Aids to Urban Law Enforcement

Prevalence of Crime in American Cities

Mounting Violence on the streets of American cities, during the day as well as after nightfall, is intensifying the problems of police and other municipal authorities and causing alarm among plain citizens. The growing frequency of purse snatchings, armed robberies and more serious crimes endangers not only pedestrians and others but also law enforcement officers. The spread of street crime has been marked y an unprecedented number of attacks on policemen by persons resisting arrest and by hostile onlookers. Changing conditions of urban life are generally blamed for such examples of lack of respect for officers of the law, but they are believed to reflect also lack of adequate financial support of city police departments.

Rising crime rates have coincided with marked advances in police techniques, in standards for selection of personnel, and in police training methods, but many police departments have not been able to take full advantage of these developments. “It is tragic,” Director J. Edgar Hoover of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said a year ago, “that during an era when the ultimate in police protection lies within the grasp of every community, our profession is still being denied the wherewithal to fulfill its responsibilities.”

Upsurge of Urban Crime in the Past Decade

The F.B.I.'s Uniform Crime Reports have shown a steady upsurge of crime in cities over the past decade. More than 1.8 million serious offenses were reported during 1960, 14 per cent more than in 1959 and twice the number in 1950. Crime has been increasing faster than population. The 1960 rate (1,038 crimes per 100,000 population) was one-fourth higher than the average for the preceding five years, two-thirds higher than the 1950 rate and nearly double the 1940 rate. The F.B.I.'s 1960 “crime clock” showed four serious crimes committed every minute. Most of them were committed in the cities, where the arrest rate is three times higher than in rural areas.

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BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
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