Update
The Oxford Biblical Studies Online and Oxford Islamic Studies Online have retired. Content you previously purchased on Oxford Biblical Studies Online or Oxford Islamic Studies Online has now moved to Oxford Reference, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, or What Everyone Needs to Know®. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the subscriber services page.
Dismiss
Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD REFERENCE (www.oxfordreference.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single entry from a reference work in OR for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 01 July 2022

Crime. 

Source:
The Oxford Companion to United States History
Author(s):
Jeffrey S. AdlerJeffrey S. Adler

During the mid–seventeenth century, public officials in Puritan Massachusetts expressed fears that crime and disorder were tearing apart the fabric of society. Nearly three and a half centuries later, prominent observers made similar claims, reporting that crime was surging and undermining public order. For Puritans, however, the criminality consisted not of mugging, murder, and crack-cocaine use, but of fornication, Sabbath-breaking, and tippling (excessive drinking). Although commentators in virtually every era have insisted that crime had reached epidemic proportions, the history of crime in America is not the story of ever-increasing rates of disorder. Rather, both the level and the character of crime have changed along with America society. Shifting patterns of crime, therefore, provide an important perspective on the development of American society.... ...

Access to the complete content on Oxford Reference requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.