Crime, Criminal Mobility and Serial Offenders in Early Twentieth-Century Britain

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Abstract

This article examines the criminal records of 427 convicts present in Dartmoor Prison during a large-scale riot on 24 January 1932. The structure of this notorious convict population is outlined and the significant proportion of relatively minor crimes on their records is highlighted. The geographical mobility of these offenders is considered along with the diverse reasons why these men, and others like them, travelled. The idea of mobility, the excitement of crime, the motor car and dangerous offenders were all important factors in the way in which a small minority of offenders achieved a high level of public attention and became part of inter-war culture. Heightened fears about crime focused in particular on the motor bandit, who was perceived as a new kind of criminal at war with society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-568
JournalContemporary British History
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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