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The changes to Britain's economy
and society brought by Industrial Revolution had a huge impact
on crime, as you might think. There were warehouses stuffed
with goods to sell. There were banks, where huge amounts of
money were kept. There were goods lying around being transported
from one place to another. The homes of those who got rich
on the profits of industry presented new and tempting targets
for burglars. These were all new opportunities for the age-old
crime of theft.
There were also entirely new crimes brought about by these
new conditions: not paying your fare on a railway train; vandalism
on the tracks; stealing water from standpipes in the street
(because houses did not have running water laid on); failure
to send your children to school (after 1870); employing children
under age (after the Factory Acts) and so on.
Whatever the amount or type of crime, there was greater awareness
of it. Newspapers flourished, often, as now, giving lots of
space to crime reporting.