Fact File


Click on the links for interesting facts and true life crimes.

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Crime

  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  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


Forensic Science

1920:

1921:

  • American psychiatrist Dr. John A. Larson developed the forerunner to the modern polygraph
  • Dr. Alexander Gettler found a way of telling if a person drowned in fresh or salt water
  • The U.S. Treasury Department established the position of document examiner
  • An Oregon court accepted ballistics testimony concerning cartridge shell markings

1922:

  • The Bureau of Forensic Ballistics was formed in NYC by Calvin H. Goddard, Charles E. Waite, P.O. Gravelle, and John Fischer

1923:

  • The comparison microscope was invented by Goddard and Waite
  • The LAPD started its forensic science laboratory
    Italian Leone Lattes was the first to solve a crime through the grouping of dried bloodstains
  • U.S. – The first time a court considered polygraph results as evidence – the evidence was not admitted due to the lack of scientific reliability of the technique
  • German criminalist August Bruning published an important work on trace evidence

1924:

  • Leopold and Loeb Case – U.S. – questioned documents
  • Louis Boulay Case – French – trace evidence
  • Lee Stack Case – Egypt – Ballistics
  • Frenchman Edmond Bayle established a crime lab at the Surete. He did pioneer work in fields of spectroanalysis, ultraviolet rays, and spectrophotometry.
  • Europe – the courts recognized Dr. Karl Landsteiner’s blood grouping tests

1925:

  • John N. Thorne Case – England – forensic medicine
  • English forensic pathologist Sydney Smith published, Text-book of Forensic Medicine. Smith was one of the first forensic pathologists to study ballistics, at this time ballistic experts were usually gunsmiths. Smith was one of the most versatile of period

1927:

1928:

1929:


Law Enforcement

1920:

  • A large police dog training academy was opened in Germany

1921:

  • William J. Burns was appointed the 4th Director of the Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

1924:

  • J. Edgar Hoover was appointed the 5th Director of the Bureau of Investigation
  • Bureau of Investigation established its fingerprint division

1926-1928:

  • Police radio communications developed during this period

1927:

  • D’Autremont Case – U.S. – police disseminated 3 million photographs to locate 3 fugitives

1928:

  • Cincinnati Police Department created a centralized bureau of criminal records
  • The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) created a new system of crime classification

1929:

  • August Vollmer, on leave from the Berkeley Police Department, taught police administration at the University of Chicago. He returned to Berkeley in 1931
  • By this time, the U.S. was employing 2,836 Special Prohibition Agents to enforce the Volstead Act

1930:

  • August Vollmer and Dean John Wigmore of Northwestern University Law School, helped start the first U.S. college criminal justice program at San Jose State College

Criminal Law

1922:

  • Congress passed an import – export law restricting the import of opium

1924:

  • Congress banned the manufacture of heroin

1927:

  • England – The indicting grand jury was abolished

Crime Prevention and Private Security

1923:

  • Allan Pinkerton’s son, William Pinkerton died. His brother, Robert took over control of the company.

 

1930 to 1939

Crime

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:

1939:

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

Forensic Science

1930:

  • Germany had the lead in the field of forensic medicine. Most murder cases included the work of a forensic pathologist. The German forensic pathologist, Dr. Richard Kockel, a leader in his field, believed that forensic pathologists should expand into other non-medical, criminalistic fields.
  • A scientific crime detection lab was established in Chicago with Calvin Goddard its first director
  • Harry Battley, head of the criminal records bureau at Scotland Yard, invented a system of classifying and filing single fingerprints
  • Franz Josef Holzer of Innsbruck, developed a simplified procedure of grouping dried bloodstains

1931:

  • Infrared photography could be taken as simply as regular photographs
  • A U.S. court admitted evidence related to Landstiner’s blood grouping tests
  • Vera Page Case – England – textile clue
  • English forensic scientist John Glaister published an enormous study of hair
  • Swiss criminalist Harry Soderman became the head of the Institute of Police Science at the University of Stockholm

1932:

  • The FBI started its crime laboratory
  • Lindbergh Case – U.S. – questioned documents

1933:

  • American criminalist Luke S. May started a crime lab for the Seattle Police Department

1934:

  • Skin specialists from Northwestern University identified the fingerprints of a man who had tried to have them removed
  • Since 1901, Scotland Yard had made 400,000 fingerprint identifications

1935:

  • Dr. Buck Ruxton Case – England – Forensic medicine
  • Thomas A, Gonzales took over as the 2nd chief medical examiner of NYC at the death of Dr. Charles Norris
  • Japanese serologists began looking into the possibility that group O could be subgrouped
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police used its first police dog
  • By this time, all U.S. courts admitted testimony concerning the comparison of known and questioned handwriting
  • England – The Metropolitan Police Lab was started in London
  • Russian Mikhaih Gersimov reconstructed a recognizable human face from its skull

1936:

  • Two scientists in Denmark started experimenting with Neutron Activation Analysis

1937:

  • Walter Specht of Jena developed the luminol procedure to detect the presence of blood
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police established its first crime laboratory at Regina, Saskatchewan
  • Forensic Pathology was first taught at the Harvard Medical School
  • Arthur Perry Case – England – Forensic serology

1938:

  • New York City’s first serological laboratory was started
  • England – The Home Office added 6 regional crime laboratories

1939:

  • Pamela Coventry Case – England – forensic serology
  • American anthropologist Ernest Hooton refined Lombroso’s theories regarding the physical characteristics of criminals
  • Walter Dinivan Case – England – forensic serology
  • The U.S. Post Office established its questioned documents lab

Law Enforcement

1930:

  • Elmer L. Irey, head of intelligence division, IRS, begins his tax evasion investigation of Al Capone
  • The Federal Bureau of Narcotics established under the directorship of Harry J. Anslinger
  • Detective “Camera-Eye” Sheridan of the NYPD was a the top of his career

1931:

  • The Wickersham Commission studied the American criminal justice system
  • By this time, 31 states had established fingerprint bureaus

1932:

  • August Vollmer retired from the Berkeley Police Department to teach at the University of California
  • The Traffic Safety Institute was started at Northwestern University

1933:

  • Bureau of Investigation started compiling crime statistics for the Uniform Crime Reports

1934:

  • Bureau of Investigation Agents were authorized to carry guns and make arrests
  • The Bureau of Investigation had 4,800,000 fingerprints on file, the largest collection in the world
  • There were 500,000 sworn police officers in the U.S.

1935:

  • The Bureau of Investigation was renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Thomas E. Dewey was appointed Special Prosecutor and started his organized crime investigation in New York City
     
  • The FBI National Academy was started
  • O.W. Wilson, Chief of Police, Wichita, Kansas Police Department, started the first police cadet program in the U.S. Wilson became one of the major spokesmen for police professionalism in the U.S.

1936:

  • Michigan State University established a 4-year B.S. program in Police Administration
  • August Vollmer published an important book on police administration
  •  Congress authorized funds for vocational training in law enforcement
  • The Metropolitan police in London established its first police dog unit

1938:

  • August Vollmer retired from the University of California.

1939:

  •  By this time all U.S. cities over 250,000 had police departments with traffic divisions

Criminal Law

1931:

  • Gambling was legalized in Nevada

1934:

  • Congress passed the National Firearms Act

1936:

  • Brown v. Mississippi

1937:

  • Congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act

Crime Prevention and Private Security

1932:

  • William J. Burns died

1935:

  • Pinkerton Company discontinued doing labor investigations after a Senate Subcommittee investigation showed that 30% of their work involved spying on labor

1936:

  • Brink’s, in the largest single move of private property, used 10 trucks to haul $20 million in jewelry, art objects, stamps, and currency from a home in Dartmouth, Massachusetts to a Boston bank

Volstead Act

speakeasies

US Homicide

Tommy gun.

Thompson – Bywaters Case

Fatty Arbuckle Case

Big Jim Colosimo

Crime wave in the U.S.

Edwin H. Sutherland

Sicilian gang Leaders 

Al Capone

The Untouchables

Eliot Ness

 Dasheill Hammett

Bootlegging

Sacco-Vanzetti Case

 Edmond Locard

Leopold and Loeb Case

Browne and Kennedy

Helmuth Daube

St Valentines Day Massacre

William Podmore Case

August Vollmer

Pinkerton's

Huey Long Case

Lindbergh Case