Crime in Victorian Bolton, by Guest Blogger, David Holding

David Holding has written a large number of books for Scott Martin Productions, all non-fiction, and all well-researched and fascinating. One of his first titles was ‘The Dark Figure: Crime in Victorian Bolton’.

Historians who seek to use crime figures have to face certain challenges. Historical evidence is, by its very nature, fragmentary and cannot give its own conclusions, it requires interpretation. However, statistics used with caution can provide a starting point, a hypothesis for patterns of both criminal activity and responses to perceptions of that activity. Detailed analysis of annual crime statistics over the period from 1855 to 1895, from Chief Constables’ Reports to the Watch Committee of Bolton, make it possible to identify specific offences over the period.

Even though their usefulness has been questioned, crime statistics are at least one indictor of police activity and a general measure of crime in Victorian Bolton over the period.

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