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1348-1748: Gangs of criminals roamed unchecked in England

1500-1600: Criminals in Germany were tortured for confessions

1640’s: American colonies’ first crime wave in New York

1650: Gin discovered in England, serious increase in crime

1660-1750: City slums and crime developed in England

1676-1776: Only crime in American colonies involved minor offenses

1676: Major arson case in Boston

1677: Burning at stake abolished in England

1692: Salem witchcraft episodes in American colonies

1700-1750: Crime grew in American colony seaport towns

1700-1725: Jonathan Wild was London’s most famous and notorious thief and fence

1717: The “Mississippi Bubble” swindle in France

1739: Dick Turpin, England’s number one criminal was executed

1740-1814: Era of Marquis DeSade in France

1741: 13 blacks burned at stake in NYC for arson

1750-1790: Serious crime wave in American colonies

1763: Serious depression in American colonies

1759-1778: Infanticide a major crime problem in Sweden

1788: Last woman in England to be burnt alive at the stake

1800-1850: All U.S. Cities were crime-ridden and dangerous

1801: Emperor of Russia was assassinated

1807: First American criminal autobiography written

1812: England – Prime Minister assassinated

1820-1855: U.S. – Industrialization and urbanization led to riots in major cities

1820-1830: Serious poverty in Paris – 200 murders a year in the city

1820: England – Thieves, forgers, and robbers no longer subjected to the death penalty

1825: England – Counterfeiting a major problem

1828: Burke and Hare Case – England – Murder

1832: U.S. – State banks established – forgery became a problem

1838: Abraham Lincoln said that internal violence was America’s major domestic problem

1840-1880: Gambling was a big business in U.S. cities

1841: Mary Cecilia Rogers Case – U.S. – Murder

1849: Major arson case in St. Louis

1837-1900: There were seven attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria. They were all unsuccessful.

1849-1902: 210 vigilante movements in the American West

1850-1900: The golden era of the con game in the U.S.

1850-1900: U.S. cities were still unsafe. European cities were bringing crime under control.

1850-1860: Los Angeles suffered from a high homicide rate

1850: American cities were expanding at an exceedingly rapid rate

1850: China – Millions were addicted to opium

1851: San Francisco’s first vigilance committee established

1857: There were 80,000 prostitutes in London

1859: An arsonist burned down a famous NYC museum

1860-1907: Adam Worth, England’s greatest thief, was active

1860: The dime novel was created. It made heroes out of the outlaws of the American West
------ Gangs called tongs controlled San Francisco’s underworld
------ Constance Kent Case – England – Murder
------ It was estimated that half the paper money in the U.S. was counterfeit

1861: Allan Pinkerton frustrated a plot on President Lincoln’s life

1864: Ma Mandlebaum was the biggest fence in NYC

1865: President Lincoln assassinated
------ First major bank robbery in the U.S. at Concord, MA

1866: There were 615 houses of prostitution in NYC

1867: Allan Pinkerton broke a wiretapping swindle involving the Stock Exchange

1868: Pinkerton detectives arrested the Reno brothers (train robbers)

1869-1878: Wave of major bank burglaries in the U.S.

1870: The Prime Minister of Spain was assassinated

1872-1878: Sicily – Mafia vendettas wiped out towns

1873: Jesse James gang robbed a train by first wrecking it

1874: Charley Ross Kidnapping Case – First U.S. kidnapping for ransom

1875-1880: First serious crime was in the U.S.

1876: James and Younger gangs wiped out by townspeople in Northfield, Minnesota

1877: Crime in the U.S. had shifted from the frontier to the city
------ Pinkerton men arrested men attempting to steal Abraham Lincoln’s body
------ Pinkerton troops broke up the Mollie Maquires gang

1880-1905: 551 persons in England and Wales were convicted of murder

1881: President James A. Garfield was assassinated

1882: Jesse James was shot by one of his own gang members for the reward
------ Jack-the-Ripper Case – England – Murder

1889: Maybrick Case – England – Murder

1890: Hennessy Case – U.S. – Murder
------ Bill Doolin gang active in Oklahoma territory

1892: Dalton gang wiped out in Coffeyville, Kansas
------ Johnson County Range War in Wyoming
------ Homestead, PA labor violence involving Pinkerton guards and union members
------ Lizzie Borden Case – U.S. – Murder

1894: President Carnot of France assassinated

1896: America’s first mass murderer was hanged

1898: Heroin was introduced to the world by the Bayor Company of Germany

1900-1920: U.S. – Mail-order confidence men flourished

1900-1910: U.S. – Major increase in murder rate

1901: President William McKinley assassinated

1903: Serbia – King and Queen assassinated

1907: Black Hand terrorist groups operated in several large U.S. cities

1908: Portugal – King Carlos I assassinated
------ Belle Gunness Case – U.S. – Mass Murder

1909: Joe Petrosino Case – Sicily – Murder
------ Oscar Slater Case – Scotland – Murder

1910-1914: The Chicago Vice Commission in operation

1910: Cora Crippen Case – England – Murder

1911: William J. Burns solved the Los Angeles Times bombing case

1912: Becker-Rosenthal Case – U.S. – Murder

1913: Ludlow Colorado mine strike
------ ”Yellow Kid” Weil at the top of his career as a con man
------ Leo Frank Case – U.S. – Murder

1914: Austro-Hungarian Archduke and his wife were assassinated

1918-1928: Wave of automobile theft in the U.S.

1919: Chicago Race Riots

1920: After the Volstead Act, 23,000 speakeasies in NYC (15,000 legal bars in 1919)

1920-1933: Third major rise in the U.S. homicide rate

1920-1935: Armed robbery became a common offense in the U.S.

1921: Colt started selling the “Tommy gun.”

1920-1940: Marijuana use in the U.S. was limited to a small deviant culture

1920: U.S. – A study showed that 1 out of 400 persons in U.S. was a morphine addict
------ England – Agatha Christie published her first detective novel

1921: Thompson – Bywaters Case – England – murder
------ Fatty Arbuckle Case – U.S. – rape/murder

1923: Big Jim Colosimo killed in Chicago

1924-1936: A tremendous crime wave in the U.S. – worse than those before

1924: American Edwin H. Sutherland published his text, Criminology

1926: Since 1891, the U.S. population increased 90% while crime had risen 1,200%

1928: 23 Sicilian gang leaders met in Cleveland, Ohio

1929: Al Capone’s criminal empire in Chicago made $60 million a year
------ The Untouchables were formed and headed by Eliot Ness
------ Dasheill Hammett began publishing his detective novels
------ Bootlegging had expanded into U.S.’s single largest industry, employing 800,000 people with an annual revenue of $4 billion

1930-1935: The U.S. suffered its second major crime wave

1930-1933: There was an arson-fraud epidemic in Brooklyn, NY

1930: A major arson case at the state penitentiary at Columbus, Ohio

1931: German pyromaniac and mass murder Peter Kurten was beheaded

1932: U.S. – Icar Kreuger pulled off one of the biggest financial swindles in U.S. history

1934: Albert Fish Case – U.S. – mass murder
------ 489 homicides in NYC
------ 280 homicides in England and Wales
------ In new York, 28% of those convicted of a capital offense were executed
------ In Great Britain, 19% of those convicted of a capital offense were executed
------ U.S. – the Maranzano Organized Crime was ended and the Mafia’s first board of directors was formed
------ John Dillinger was killed in Chicago by FBI Agents
------ FBI Agents killed “Pretty Boy” Flloyd in East Liverpool, Ohio
------ FBI Agents killed “Baby Face” Nelson in Niles Center, Illinois

1935: Huey Long Case – U.S. – murder

1939: U.S. – 895 persons convicted of counterfeiting
------ Raymond Chandler published his first detective novel
------ Piccadilly Bomb Case – England – murder

1940-1945: Peak period in U.S. for true-crime type detective magazines

1940: Abe Reles turned state’s evidence and U.S. public learned of Murder Inc. and the nature of organized crime

1943: Sir Harry Oakes Case – Bahamas – murder
------ The Detroit Race Riot

1944: Organized crime figure Lepke Buchalter died in the electric chair

1946: Lucky Luciano was deported after serving a 10 year prison term
------ Bugsy Siegel opened the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas

1947: Micky Spillane published his first detective novel
------ Black Dahlia Case – U.S. – murder
------ Bugsy Siegel killed in Beverly Hills

1948: Chessman Case – U.S. – kidnapping
------ In NYC there were 51 Driving While Intoxicated convictions

1950: Brinks Case – U.S. – robbery
------ Since 1900, 7 mass murder cases in U.S. (7 or more victims)

1951: Kenneth Skinner Case – U.S. – arson/murder

1953: Vincent Ciucci Case – U.S. – arson/murder
------ John Christie Case – England – murder

1955: Jack Gilbert Graham Case – U.S. – murder
------ George Fisher Case – U.S. – arson
------ England – the last woman was hanged in Great Britain

1957: Organized crime figure Albert Anastasia killed
------ Organized crime meeting at Apalachin, New York
------ Genovese – Costello organized crime war

1958: Richard Starkweather Case – U.S. – mass murder

1960: The CIA recruited Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana to assassinate Fidel Castro

1963: Great Train Robbery Case – England – robbery
------ U.S. – Since 1935, there had been a rapid increase in the population without an increase in the nation’s homicide rate

1964: Joseph Valachi became the highest level Mafia informer to date

1965: Boston Strangler Case – U.S. – mass murder
------ Watts Race Riot
------ Moors Murder Case – England – mass murder
------ Alice Crimmens Case – U.S. – murder
------ In Cold Blood published by Truman Capote

1966: Charles Whitman Case – U.S. – mass murder
------ Richard Speck Case – U.S. – mass murder

1968: Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis by James Earl Ray
------ Robert Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles by Sirhan Sirhan
------ Dr. Karl Menninger published The Crime of Punishment

1969: Charles Manson Case – mass murder
------ Since 1960, population of U.S. up 13% while crime up 148%
------ Jock Yablonski Case – U.S. – murder

1970: The President’s Commission on Obscenity and Pornography submitted its controversial report to president Nixon
------- There were three major arson/murder cases in the U.S., each involving multiple deaths

1971: Juan Corona Case – U.S. – mass murder
------- Organized crime figure Joseph Columbo Sr. was killed in Central Park

1972: Since 1967, shoplifting was up 73%
------- Since 1968, there were 134 attempted skyjackings of U.S. aircraft
------- Organized crime figure “Crazy Joe” Gallo was killed
------- Organized crime figure Tommy Eboli was killed
------- Attempted assassination of George Wallace

1973: Edward Kemper III Case – U.S. – mass murder
------- Equity Funding Case – U.S. – computer fraud
------- Dean Corll Case – U.S. – mass murder

1974: There was a major arson/murder case at Port Chester, NY
------- National crime survey was conducted by the LEAA and the U.S. Census Bureau
------- National crime survey was conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics Department
------- The business community lost 21.3 billion dollars to crime this year
------- Arson claimed 1,000 lives and cost the U.S. $616 million
------- Of the 2,000 females arrested for homicide this year, only 1 out of 10 were convicted

1975: There was a $10 million arson in Shelton, Conn.
------- Organized crime figure Jimmy Hoffa disappeared
------- Organized crime figure Sam Giancana was killed
------- Since 1968, 30 American diplomats and other U.S. Officials in foreign countries were kidnapped
------- Two women attempted to assassinate President Ford on two separate occasions

1976: A college student stole over $1 million by computer fraud
------- Since 1950, there were 16 mass murder cases in the U.S. (7 victims or more)
------- Investigative reporter Don Bolles was killed while investigating business and organized crime dealings in Arizona and elsewhere
------- There was a major arson/murder case in New York City

1977: Berkowitz Case – U.S. – murder
------- Gary Gilmore was executed in Utah
------- The U.S. Senate held hearings on the arson problem
------- In Chicago, a convicted murder was sentences to 1,000 to 3,000 years by a judge
------- Jimmy Fratianno became the highest level Mafia informer to date
------- It was estimated this year that 25 to 50% of all fires were intentionally set

1978: Six restaurant employees were executed by robbers in Oklahoma City
------- Lufthansa Case – U.S. – robbery

1979: Since 1968, the Uniform Crime Reports index offenses rose 64%
------- There was a major arson/murder case in Hoboken, N.J.
------- This year bank robberies in the U.S. hit an all-time high
------- Organized crime figure Carmine Galante was gunned down in a New York City café
------- John Wayne Gacy Case – U.S. – mass murder
------- Since 1975, there was an increase in the incarceration rate for while collar criminals
------- White collar criminals stole more than $50 billion from U.S. business
------- Congress made arson a part I offense (for purposes of the Uniform Crime Reports)
------- Since the mid 1970’s, there were nine major arson-for-profit rings broken up by federal arson strike force teams

This page was last updated on: Monday, January 14, 2008

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A. James Fisher
Dept. of Political Science & Criminal Justice, 146 Hendricks Hall
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA 16444
e-mail: jfisher@edinboro.edu blog: http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com