In his new book Law & Disorder: The Chaotic Birth Of The NYPD (Thomas Dunne Books, 2017) historian Bruce Chadwick argues that rampant violence led to the founding of the first professional police force in New York City.
Chadwick paints a picture of a bloody and violent city, where race relations and an influx of immigrants boiled over into riots, street gangs roved through town with abandon, and thousands of bars, prostitutes, and gambling emporiums clogged the streets.
Chadwick says that in the 19th century the crime rate was triple what it is today and the murder rate was five or six times as high. The drive to establish law and order involved some of New York’s biggest personalities, including mayor Fernando Wood and journalist Walt Whitman.
Bruce Chadwick is the author of more than twenty-five books. Chadwick taught at Rutgers University and New Jersey City University. He covered crime for many years as a reporter for the New York Daily News. He holds a PhD from Rutgers and he lectures on the history of crime and forensics all over the world.
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