Law & Disorder: The Chaotic Birth of the NYPD

Thomas Dunne: St. Martin's. Apr. 2017. 384p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781250082589. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250082596. CRIME
Historian Chadwick (I Am Murdered) illustrates how the New York City Police Department (NYPD) evolved to become what it is today. Prior to the NYPD's founding in 1844, the city of New York was wild and dangerous. Crime was rampant and policemen (known as constables) were essentially nonexistent as they were often bribed to look the other way. It was the 1841 murder of "beautiful cigar girl" Mary Rogers that brought the issues of violence and police reform to the forefront. Prior to this, crimes were not reported in newspapers for the fear of turning away visitors to the city. Thus, coverage of this murder changed the way crimes were reported and spurred the rise of tabloid newspapers. Slowly, reforms were made within the police force. However, reform was difficult because of the corruption of city government. By the late 1870s, the NYPD finally gained control of the city and saved its positive image.
VERDICT Highly recommended for public libraries with a strong true crime collection and all academic libraries. Readers can appreciate the challenges faced by the NYPD through this well-researched time line of how the department was formed.
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