Property Crime In The 18th Century

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Historians often regard the eighteenth century as one of the most criminal in the history of Early Modern England. Property crimes were the most common sort of vagrant behaviour, but some violent incidences did take place, usually in the form of riots. Many times, these riots were to express the general discontentment of the population against certain factors. Property crime was a certain eventuality, especially when the growing economic prosperity of England is considered. It is likely that the wealth of the nation may have proved too strong a temptation for poorer individuals and soon, cities such as London became hotbeds of criminal activity. Law enforcement and elite society often attributed the criminal problem to “that torrent of gaming, …show more content…
The eighteenth century saw an increasing wave of food rioting, eventually fading in the nineteenth century. Riots took place in 1709-1710, 1727-1729, 1739-1740, 1756-1757, 1766-1768, 1772-1773, 1783, 1795-1796 and 1799-1801. Food choices in eighteenth century England were somewhat limited and bread was the staple food. When bread and flour prices rose due to inflation, rioting was to be expected. These protests were treated as criminal events and led to arrests for some individuals. Famine would also result from the dependence of a growing urban population on the market economy as their food supply. Food rioting led to incidents of property crime, particularly food rioting and theft. Food riots would generally be concentrated in areas that acted as transport points for grain. The high prices of grain would often excite the crowds and they would act against the merchants, rioting and often looting the ships or carts used to transport the grain. Food disturbances were surprisingly infrequent in London. Considering its large population, London faced the problem of feeding a large urban community at incredibly high prices. However, London only had a few incidences of food riots, all of them minor. It is likely that the larger impact of food riots was absorbed by the semi-urban communities in Middlesex, which surrounded the capital, and prevented their spread into the urban centre of England. London also had a well-developed supply system, which allowed the city to facilitate food trade far more easily then other towns. Food disturbances were generally local affairs, taking place in market towns or manufacturing centres, and reflected urban populations. The rural populations were not dependent on the urban markets as a source of their food. As a result, they had far less to fear scarcity of food in their homes. They also had easier access to grain in times

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