How did criminal activity in Britain change during the industrial revolution of 1750-1900?

Criminal activity in Britain during the industrial revolution changed significantly. As a result of the widening divide between the rich and the poor, the crime rate rose dramatically.

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The industrial revolution produced a major change in British society, as it resulted not only in a massive shift with regard to manufacturing processes, but it also led to an increased divide between the rich and the poor. You should therefore stress that it is not surprising that criminal activity was also one of the many areas of life that were affected by the changes brought upon Britain by the industrial revolution.

For example, you might want to point out the fact that towns and cities suddenly attracted more people, which led to urbanization. Many towns and cities in Britain, for example Manchester, began to grow and grow. Whilst the rich were able to afford nice and big houses in these towns, enjoying a lifestyle of luxury, many of the poor were forced to live in squalor and under horrible conditions. This led to an increase of petty crimes, such as theft and pickpocketing, as many poor people had not chance but to resort to criminal activity to earn money in order to be able to provide for themselves and their families.

Given that life in big towns and cities was a lot more anonymous compared to life in the country, these growing towns and cities also attracted a lot more criminals and organized crime compared to the time before the industrial revolution. You can explain this with the fact that it would have been much easier to commit crimes in big, anonymous cities, as opposed to committing a crime in a small, rural community.

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