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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/134

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130
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

100,000 of population among native whites for murder and murderous assaults was 94.16, among the foreign white population the ratio was 146.65 per one hundred thousand. Among the negroes the ratio was 107.52.

In considering the above statistics, the fact should be borne in mind that the greater frequency of crimes of violence among certain elements of the foreign-born population does not imply an inherent and ineradicable viciousness or criminality among these unfortunate immigrants, but merely a lawlessness due to unfavorable environment and inadequate education, mental and manual. Crime is twin brother to poverty, and both are the children of ignorance and greed.

It may be said, in conclusion, that while crimes of violence have increased in Chicago during the past thirty-five years, the increase has not been so great as has been represented, and that the alarming reports sent out about the "carnival of crime" in Chicago are usually without especial significance, since crimes of violence occur in all great cities sporadically, generally in quick succession. At the end of the year it is found, as a rule, that no unusual increase for the twelve months has taken place, or that even an actual decrease has occurred, as was the case in Chicago during the year 1906.

For the past four or five years the American public has been startled by sensational reports regarding "the terrible increase of crime in New York City." The year 1906 brought the usual quota of comment and criticism. More recently the apparently unprovoked killing of a policeman by an Italian assassin has focused attention upon the fact that at least 1,600 of the foreign-born element of the great metropolis have been permitted to go about the streets armed with a deadly weapon. This evil practise is tolerated more or less in nearly all our great cities, and with the same disastrous results. New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and other rapidly growing cities, nearly all show an increase in the proportion of crimes of violence commensurate with the changing character of their immigrant population.[1] But, contrary to popular opinion, the increase of homicide in New York City has been very slight during the past decade, the year 1906 excepted. This agrees with the fact that the racial composition of the population has not materially changed during the five or six years preceding 1905. Taking a longer period, however, we find quite an increase in the number of crimes of violence, especially assaults with a deadly weapon, and, apparently, murder and attempts thereat. In 1880, when less than ten per cent, of New York's alien population was drawn from Russia and southern Europe,

  1. The extent of this change was partially traced by the present writer in an article on "The Effects of Immigration on Homicide in American Cities," Popular Science Monthly, August, 1906.