Explain how the types of crime have not changed since the beginning of the nineteenth century, only the methods used to commit them.

The types of crime have not changed since the beginning of the 19th century, only the methods used to commit them, because the nature of crimes has largely transformed due technological advancements. Though the methods have changed, the underlying crime, such as theft or murder, remains fundamentally the same.

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In the early nineteenth century, 75% off all crime was categorized as "petty theft." Within this category, most people turned to pickpocketing to steal the monetary resources of others, and gangs of pick pocketers were even organized to better orchestrate theft.

Theft is still a common crime in our modern society, though its form has changed substantially. Though muggings and pickpocketing do occur today, theft is much more likely to transpire through electronic means. Thieves use phishing strategies to compromise our electronic security and then access our monetary resources. Devices have been developed to overlay credit card devices at gas pumps so that when you swipe your card, the information is stored in this device, which is later removed and used by thieves. Hackers access the servers which house our electronic data, such as social security numbers and other personal information; they can then sell this information to others who can steal our identities. The ultimate crime of theft is the same, but the methods used to steal from people have changed quite drastically.

A less common crime in the early nineteenth century was murder. This is still a concern in our modern society as well, though technology has again shifted the possibilities for committing these crimes. The attacks of September 11, 2001 murdered almost 3,000 people in a single day; this type of large-scale and fairly instantaneous murder would have been nearly impossible hundreds of years ago. Yet today, terms like "bioterrorism" have integrated themselves into common vocabulary, presenting new and ever-evolving threats. The internet is used to lure people to their deaths, even potentially ensnaring a stranger whom a murderer has never met.

The capacities of technology have dramatically altered the ways crimes are carried out, though the essential nature of the crime has remained the same for hundreds of years.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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