Police Departments, Arrests and Crime in the United States, 1860-1920 (ICPSR 7708)

Published: Jan 12, 2006

Principal Investigator(s):
Eric Monkkonen


Version V2

These data on 19th- and early 20th-century police department and arrest behavior were collected between 1975 and 1978 for a study of police and crime in the United States. Raw and aggregated time-series data are presented in Parts 1 and 3 on 23 American cities for most years during the period 1860-1920. The data were drawn from annual reports of police departments found in the Library of Congress or in newspapers and legislative reports located elsewhere. Variables in Part 1, for which the city is the unit of analysis, include arrests for drunkenness, conditional offenses and homicides, persons dismissed or held, police personnel, and population. Part 3 aggregates the data by year and reports some of these variables on a per capita basis, using a linear interpolation from the last decennial census to estimate population. Part 2 contains data for 267 United States cities for the period 1880-1890 and was generated from the 1880 federal census volume, REPORT ON THE DEFECTIVE, DEPENDENT, AND DELINQUENT CLASSES, published in 1888, and from the 1890 federal census volume, SOCIAL STATISTICS OF CITIES. Information includes police personnel and expenditures, arrests, persons held overnight, trains entering town, and population.

Monkkonen, Eric. Police Departments, Arrests and Crime in the United States, 1860-1920. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-01-12. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07708.v2

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United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics

1860 -- 1920

1975 -- 1978

annual reports of police departments, 1888 federal census volume, REPORT ON THE DEFECTIVE, DEPENDENT, AND DELINQUENT CLASSES, and 1890 federal census volume, SOCIAL STATISTICS OF CITIES

aggregate data, and administrative records data



2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 4 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.

1984-03-18 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

NACJD logo

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.