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Modern historians think that there
was an increase in crime in the period from about 1780 to
the mid-19th century. Certainly people at the time thought
there was, and there was much discussion of the causes. Governments
were busy passing laws to deal with crime - Sir Robert Peel,
the recipient of the letter from which the sources in this
Case-Study are taken, was preparing the 1829 Metropolitian
Police Act (see Gallery Prevention
before 1450), even as
it was being written. Those who were worried about an increase
in crime put forward their favourite theories, as now.