Vaughn, Sydney


The Industrial Revolution accelerated a massive growth of the urban population since increased number of people saw the transition into a more modernized and technology based world an opportunity for job seeking and life improvements. An important change that brought its way into society through this urban expansion was a rapid increase in crime in the larger, booming cities. In London, England during the time frame of 1825 to 1820, three pivotal factors rose to the top of contributes to this fearsome inhumanity in the urban landscape: poverty, unemployment, and overcrowding. The most common job that arose during the Industrial Revolution was that of a factory worker. Factory workers has no sense of job security or social security in industrializing London. Due to dangerous working conditions in the booming factories, injuries were bound to happen, and once a worker was deemed hurt, being laid off was usually the only outcome, leaving workers with no way of replacing lost income. Most lower class factory workers were unskilled and uneducated, so a lot of pressure was put on them in this new urbanized world, leading them to do what they deemed necessary and an easy way out, stealing. Also, overcrowding was a major contributor due to the thousands of people that were drawn to London for employment during this industrialization period. Collective living led to collective organization, which helped to create social disorder on a larger scale. Individuals were not prepared for this great influx of people who they would be encountering on a daily basis, for individuals hadn’t been exposed to such a high density of people living in a small area. This overcrowding fueled social dysfunction amongst mankind that resulted in acts of crime against property and people. London was especially prone to experiencing high rates of embezzlement and theft which hindered property owners from protecting their own goods, increasing the intensity of the already competitive markets of the city’s developing economy.
To control the broadening misdemeanors, the evolvement of a significant modern institution came into place: the public police. Confronted with political objections and fears of potential abuse Prime Minister Robert Peel sponsored the first successful bill creating a bureaucratic police force in England. In 1829, the Metropolitan Police Act was passed, symbolizing the crucial new beginning of a public police force in London. The Metropolitan Police Act established principles that shaped modern English policing during the major transformations brought on by the Industrial Revolution. Primary means of policing was conspicuous patrolling by uniformed police officers maintained through a centralised, pseudo-military organisational structure. It was firmly stated that the first objective of the police force was to minimize and prevent the growing crime rate brought on by the Industrial Revolution’s rapid urbanization.

In conclusion, the rapid urbanization that transformed London and increased its population led to immense amounts of crime by those trying to make a living in the new industrialized city. Crime became such a problem during the Industrial Revolution, that the first London public police force was established in 1829 to maintain social civility in the growing city.

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Fitzgerald, Richard D. “The Social Impact of the Industrial Revolution.” Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Ed. Josh Lauer and Neil Schlager. Vol. 4. Detroit: Gale, 2000. 376-381. Global Issues In Context. Web. 3 Oct. 2014.