1870: Harrison Street Police Station

Harrison Street Police Station circa 1900

This 1870 murder is the first case in the database. It offers an example of how the data was recorded by the police over the entire period. The Harrison Street Police station was the central police station, and the report of the killing at a railroad yard includes information about the victim and defendant typical of later records.

Image of the lockup keeper sitting in a rocking chair outside a row of jail cells in the Harrison Street police station

The practice was to bring the accused person back to the police station to make the arrest and ‘booking’ at the station itself.

View case details…

This is the only case recorded where the crime occurred in 1870 (JCLC p. 538-543). The Chicago fire in 1871 undoubtedly disturbed regular record keeping. There is a paucity of cases for the 1870’s generally. Quantitative analyses and time series are more reliable for data beginning in 1889 (JCLC p. 542-547). Nonetheless having some cases from the 1870’s gives a perspective on that period. Analysis of these data continues, and will be facilitated by the on line availability of the case summaries and the coded data in SPSS and other formats (JCLC p. 535-537). Subsequent researchers have analyzed subsets of the data set and reformatted the data for their own purposes. See, e.g. JCLC p. 609-639.

For further reading: Thomas F. Geraghty’s Article and Video Interview.

Richard Brook’s Article and Video Interview.

Michelle Oberman’s Article and Video Interview.

Cynthia Grant Bowman’s Article and Video Interview