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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200171 Find in a Library
Title: Learning From the Past, Living in the Present: Understanding Homicide in Chicago, 1870-1930
Journal: Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology  Volume:92  Issue:3/4  Dated:Spring/Summer 2002  Pages:437-554
Author(s): Leigh B. Bienen; Brandon Rottinghaus
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 18
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper provides an overview of the findings of Northwestern University School of Law's Chicago Historical Homicide Project, which stemmed from the discovery and recent availability of a log of more than 111,000 homicides from 1870-1930, which was maintained consistently by the Chicago Police over this period.
Abstract: The authors note that the fact of a single record keeper maintaining an uninterrupted record of homicide data for 60 years constitutes an important new resource for the study of crime, homicide, urban development, and the police themselves. This long record of cases from a jurisdiction of historical importance has become a lens through which to view the growth and history of Chicago. Because these crimes became cases, these records can also be the foundation for a study of courts and the legal system as well. In a section on America and Chicago during 1870-1930, this paper discusses immigration and emigration; newspapers and the political and intellectual climate of the times; labor issues, civil and political unrest, and the role of the courts; technological change and industrial development; and poverty, public health, racial segregation, and the vice districts. A section of the paper also discusses contemporaneous criminological research and political reform efforts. The discussion addresses research by contemporaneous commissions on crime, "vice," and civic corruption; the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology and the Founding of the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology; and the criminology of the period (official reports on crime and vice). Another section of this paper provides overviews of the 1911 Chicago Vice Commission Report, the 1915 Chicago City Council Report of Crime, and the 1929 Illinois Crime Survey. The concluding section of the paper addresses corruption in law enforcement and city government as a manifestation of a "culture of lawlessness." 4 figures, 1 table, appended methodology and research protocols and 5 supplementary tables
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Homicide; Homicide trends; Illinois; Offense statistics; Police statistics
Note: For other documents related to this study, see NCJ-200172-82.
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