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THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA
Published Weekly by the
University of North Caro
lina for the University Ex
APRIL 28, 1926
CHAPEL HILL, N C.
THE UNIVEI^ITYOF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS
VOL. XIL NO. 24
E. C. Branson. S. H. HobSs, Jr., L. B. Wilson, E. W. Kni.bt, D. D. Carroll. J. B. Bu.li.t. H. W. Odnn..
Entered a. second-class matter November 14, 1914. a. the PostofHee at Chanel Hill. N. C.. under the act ot August 94. 1919
CRIME IM NORTH CAROLINA
rDIMC IM NORTH CAROLINA i accounted for nearly ten percent of the
CHIME IN NOKin LAKUL " 1 tidewater counties.
One of the first steps in the crime Points to Bear in Mind
studies being undertaken by the Insti- , . a, • _
Sr/or Research in Social Science at I Lest the reader draw too sweeping
tte University of North Carolina is a j conclusions from these statements and
stLwide surLy and analysis of court others that follow, it might be well to
statewiae aur y . . cnrvrrocf that th^se differences may be
suggest that these differences may be
parpy accounted for by (1) differences
in law enforcement, (2) differences in
the proportion of cases from county to
county disposed of in the federal and
the lower courts, and (3) differences
due to failure of some clerks of court
to report anything but convictions.
Some counties have a county court hav
irson inaicccu anu ing original jurisdiction over a majority
term of superior court yt the' cases that go directly to the
records. At present two graduate
students are making a statistical analysis
of the superior court cases in the hun
dred counties of North Carolina for the
two years ending June 30, 1926. The
data for the study consist of the reports
turned in at the end of each term by the
clerks of the superior court of the sev
eral counties. These reports give the
name of each person indicted and prose
cuted during a
together -wUh the offense for which
prosecuted and how the case was dis
posed of. The clerk is also expected to
give the age, race, sex, and occupation
of each defendant, althougo this is not
always enforced or complied with.
Therefore, this social information is
more or less incomplete and unreliable.
Such facts as are given are being
tabulated according to oifense. A sepa
rate tabulation sheet is used for each
county for each fiscal year, a total of
two hundred tabulation sheets in all.
This enables the student to compare
county with county, and year with year
for the number, race, sex, age, occupa
tion, and treatment of defendants b^
In making these comparisons North
Carolina has been divided more or less
arbitrarily into four groups of 25 coun
ties each, based partly on pographic,
partly on social, characteristics. The
different areas of the state show wide
differences in race ratios, tenant farm
ers, urban population, textile spindles,
illiterates, wealth, and income. The
study ih bringing to light some interest
ing relationships between crime and
these sectional differences.
The tabulation summary sheet shows
a total of 14,484 cases for the year end
ing June 30, 1924. That is not accurate,
for some of the clerks failed to report
all the cases. For example, the Gaston
county reports showed convictions only,
404 of them. A trip to Gastonia brought
to light 244 cases that were nolle-pressed,
acquitted, or judgment prayed. Another
source of inaccuracy lies in the fact that
the clerk generally has no written record
of age, race, sex, or occupation, but
depends on bis judgmenf and memory
It would not be amiss 'for the socml
workers of North Carolina to push legis
lation to introduce the collection of this
information into the court procedure.
Taking the records for what they are
worth we find reported 8,626 cases
' against whites, 6,543 against negroes,
and 71 against Indians, leaving 244 cases
unclassified. Using the 1920 census of
population figures we find 6.66 superior
court cases reported tor each thousand
inhabitants. This may be termed the
superior court indictment rate. A recent
number of the University News Letter
carried the county indictment rates for
whites and negroes. The comparison of
the races by sections is interesting. The
following table shows the superior court
indictment rate per 1,000 inhabitants
The State 6-66
Plain and Sandhill...4.94
The tidewater section has the largest
proportion of negroes and the lowest
indictment rate. The mountain section
has the smallest proportion of ne^oes
and the highest indictment rate. Does
that mean that the way to reduce the
proportion of crime is to increase the
proportion of negroes? Not at all. It
means that a stable, stationary, and
rural population is less liable to get into
court than a shifting, growing, or urban
population. There is one exception to
this generalization; namely, failure of
the former sort of population to con
form to a new statute. This is^ illus
trated by an excess of moonshining in
the mountains and violations of the tick
eradication statute in the tidewater
section. This tick eradication statute
superior court in other counties. As
yet we have not attempted to determine
the effect of these factors on our
It is also interesting to note in con
nection with racial indictment rates
that the higher the white rate the pro
portionately higher the negro rate. A
possible explanation of this is that as
the opportunity of the negro for satisfy
ing community contacts and an adequate
social life increases, the fewer the
crimes he will commit. A comparison
of crime rates by counties seems to
bear ofit this theory, but it is the case
worker’s task to show actual causes.
Crime and Status
Thieving has been considered a typical ^
negro crime, yet in some counties there
is little difference between the races, a
fact which tends to show that it would
be more accurate to say that it is a
crime typical of a low economic and
social status. While the larceny indict
ment rate for negroes throughout the
state is three times as high as the lar
ceny indictment rate for whites, yet in
several counties, including Union and
Cabarrus, the rate for whites is higher.
The occupational distribution tends to
bear out the theory that crime is more
closely related to social and economic
status than to racial differences. The
casual laborer contributes the largest
proportion of crime. The farmer’s
seasonal idleness, and opportunities for
moonshining help to account for this.
The mill worker’s long factory hours
give him less time and energy for get
ting into mischief. At the same time
it is significant that the mill worker
contributes more than his share of the
crimes against morality. He has also
a large proportion of bootlegging,
gambling, and larceny.
It may be surprising to learn that
half of the people indicted in the supe
rior courts were over 29.4 years of age,
according to the reports of the clerks.
A'judge has recently remarked on .the
increasingly early age at which youths
get into court, but the figures reported
INCOME FROM LIVESTOCK
North Carolina ranks high in the
gross production of-crop values, and
fairly high in crop values per farm.
But in the production of agricultural
wealth, which includes not only crops
but livestock and livestock products.
North Carolina ranks very low.
Our farm income from larger meat
animals sold and slaughtered is small
on an aggregate befeis, while on a
per farm basis we rank near the end
of the list, if not at the very end.
The gross income from all larger
meat animals sold and slaughtered
in 1919 was slightly in excess of
thirty-eight ynillion dollars. In 1920
it was $29,693,000, and in 1921 it was
only $18,686,000. By larger meat
animals is meant beef and veal ani
mals, swine, sheep, and goats.
North Carolina has more than four
percent of the farms of the United
States, but she produces only slightly
more than one percent of the larger
meat animals sold and slaughtered.
North Carolina ranks second in farms,
but she ranks thirtieth in gross in
come from meat animals sold and
slaughtered. Very probably she ranks
last in average income per farm from
meat animals sold and slaughtered.
This is one of the major sources of
farm income for the United States,
but a very minor source in North
Carolina. Which goes far to explain
why North Carolina ranks so low in
the production of all agricultural
wealth, both total and per farm.
of local law enforcement, and he must
\make case studies. The greatest value
of the present study is in defining the
problem of how to go about investigat
ing the causes of crime and the methods
of controlling it.-F. S. Wilder.
by the clerks of court do not support
his views. The median age varies from
27 7 years in the piedmont section to
82.1 years in the tidewater section.
Urban and industrial life tend to bring j 1903.
WHAT DO TAXES BRING?
Ever since the day the American
colonists protested against the tax on
tea (which very few drank) opposition
to taxes has seemed to be inherent in
citizens of this country. We have talked
more about the amount of the tax than
about what taxes brought to us. Every
'dollar of tax money wasted or spent ex
travagantly or needlessly should bring
forth protest and action to secure a dol
lar’s worth of benefit for every dollar’s
worth of tax collected. If people are
assured of government economically ad
ministered , and they are getting th^
worth of their money, you hear no gen
The Smithfield Herald says “there is
no kick coming when we get the worth
of our money,’’ and adds:
It is refreshing occasionally to come
across a person who is not kicking on
account of higher taxes. Such a man
dropped into our office recently who had
just paid his taxes, and we were inter-
I ested in his attitude. Were they as
much as last year or more? we inquired.
“Well, more” he replied. Then he told
us how recently he had been looking over
some o'ld papers which he kept in a little
trunk bought for^e purpose of preserv
ing valuable records, and came across
his tax receipts for 1903. The amount
was a little more than three dollars.
Twenty-three-ye^rs have passed and last
week he paid about eighty dollars tax.
In the meantime he had acquired just
half an acre of land more than he had in
But now he has an automobile.
population at 30,666j0p0 on January 1.
1926, compared with 31,134,000 on Jan
uary 1, 1926, a decrease of 1.5 percent.
These figures include all men, women
and children living on farms.
The movement from farms to cities,
towns, and villages in 1925 is estimated
at 2,035,000, and the movement to farms
at 1,136,000, a net movement away from
farms of 901,000 persons. Births on
farms during 1925 are estimated at 710,-
000, and deaths*at 288,000, leaving a.
natural increase of 422,000 which re
duced the loss due to cityward move
ment to 479,000.
The figures for 1924 showed a net loss
in farm population of 182,000 persons.
The gross movement from farms to
cities in that year was 2,076,000, and
the gross movement back to farms was
1,396,000, a net movement, not counting
births and deaths, of 679,000 persons.
The large gross movement from farms
to cities, which has been at or slightly
above the two million mark since Jan
uary, 1922, apparently decidedly over
balances the gross movement from cities
to farms plus the increase on farms due
to excess of births over deaths.
down the average age of offenders, j He has plenty of feed for his stock,
Furthermore, a larger proportion of the j more valuable stock and better farming
city population consists of young folks | utensils.
in the teens and the twenties. In the \ When asked if he would go back to
tidewater section it was generally the | igos, if he could, he gave an emphatic
older farmers who failed to comply l negative answer. Then he told how he
with the tick eradication statute. The i used to haul fertilizer in the spring and
liquor violations also tend to raise the ; often had to unload his fertilizer to get
average age. On the whole, these facts hig horse and wagon out of the mud.
lead us to believe that crime is primarily And the schools. He has a child com-
a phenomenon of particular group atti- pleting high school and others headed
, J wioioBinQ+iY.ant Hence fQ, the same thing. He appreciates the
fact that a long-term school means the
saving of a year in every three.
It is not taxes folks mind.
tudes and social maladjustment. Hence
it is more common in the young. One
tradition of the plain people is indicated
by the proportion of violations of the
prohibition statute. New and develop
ing communities have large crime ratios
because of the numerous readjustments
they call for. Finally, there are vary
ing levels of civic morale which are re
flected in these figures.
Once again should attention be called
to the tentativeness of all this. Before
a student of crime statistics can come
to definite conclusions he must have
access to more accurate social records
in the criminal court, he must analyze
the records of other courts, he must
make copiparisons over a series of years
to note trends, he must find some index
getting value in return that causes the
rub. In every instance where the tax
payer feels that he is^getting his money’s
worth, there is no kick on taxes.—News
FEWER FARM DWELLERS
A continued decrease in farm popula-
tioti in the United States is reported by
the Department of Agriculture, which
estimates that there were 479,000 fewer
people on farms January 1 this year
than on January 1 a year ago.
The department estimates the farm
CRIME AND SECTIONAL DIFFERENCES IN NORTH CAROLINA
Uor purposes of comparison of a^e" bL^dir 1920
L"suru“n,t^Xrwisfrt:r“T;: enme facts are based on the superior courtreports for the year ending June 30,1924.
I. General facts by sections:
Area, square miles J*’™
Population, total 1920 -.’.rae’iiF:
Farms in 1926, per 1000 pop. 1920... HI
Tenants in 1926, per, 1000 population
Illiterates, per 1000 adults
Taxed incomes 1924, No. per 1000 pop.
Autos, Jan. 1924, per 1000 pop.
26 Plain and Sand
Indians in counties in which Indians weje indicted.
II. Crime facts.
Total cases ,
Indictments per 1000 population 6.bb
Per 1000 whites
Per 1000 negroes
Liquor violation indictments. 3,
Indictments per 1000 population 1-53
Per 1000 whites J-’”
Per 1000 negroes
Indictments for larceny
Per 1000 population
Per 1000 whites
Per 1000 negroes
Median ages of ail persons indictedl..
Median ages of liquor law violators...
Others included with whites.
4.94 6 14
29 1 27.7
CRIME IN MISSOURI
Missouri has anticipated its neighbors
in arriving at the conclusion that before
talking intelligently about crime one
might do well to find out something
One of the things it has definitely
found out is that crime, at least in Mis
souri, is not a hazardous occupation.
In St. Louis in the course of a single
year there were 1492cases^of homicide
and 25 punishments ;3;2,701 burglaries
and 107 punishment3;^2,076 robberies
and 86 punishments. The chances of
escaping the penalty forLmurder were
6 in 6 in St. Louis and lOJin 11 in Kansas
City; for robbery, 24 in 251in St. Louis
and 27 in 28 in Kansas City; for bur
glary, 24 in 25 in St. Louis, and 99 in
100 in Kansas City.
Punishment here meansjsentence. But
sentence itself is subject to:a very hand
some discount. In more than 1,000
serious cases an average penal term of
more than 60 months worked out actually
at less than 12 months. A 99-yfear sen
tence resolves itself into 11.19 years. A
life sentence works out at less than 11
Before losing oneself in a study of
the causes of crime and its cure, it is
obviously in order to experiment with
the simple device of catching the crim
inal and applying the laws that exist.
In the current number of The Survey,
Professor George W. Kirchwey depre
cates the panic about crime waves,
manifesting itself in outcries for severer
penalties and new penalties. His fears
would seem to have little basis. What
ever penalties we may write on our
statute Wks, the chances are that the
heavier they, are the less they will be
enforced, if we may judge from our
present experience. /
Nothing in the way of penal theory
will affect one basic factor in the situa
tion, which is the failure of the police
to apprehend criminals. If in St. Louis
only 85 persons received punishment in
2 075 cases of robbery, the courts were
not entirely at fault. The total number
of arrests was only 379. Nearly nine
chances in ten of not being caught after
committing robbery, and only one
chance in five of being convicted after
being caught-~this is a condition of
affairs that should greatly simplify the
task of the many agencies now engaged
in studying the subject.—New York
RELIGION IN OUR SCHOOLS
We do not seek tolerance. We seek
brotherhood, understanding, coopera
tion. It is the great business of religion
to unite, and not to divide. Unity does
not mean uniformity. Minorities are
the means of growth. Let us encour
age differences so long as they con
tribute to the larger good. Minorities
are more often right than majorities.
Individuals are far more often right
than minorities, many of them moving
like blazing stars, counter to the direc
tion of their times. No civilization is
worth while that does not respect
But while we respect variety, let us
unite in spirit and service. Let us leave
our theological weapons at the door and
gather in the temple of brotherhood to
do the things about which we agree;
take hold as one man of the thorny
problems of peace, industry, race rela
tions, in round-table discussion groups
and forums, where we can sit. all kinds
of us, elbow to elbow. Let us put re
ligion into the schools—not creeds, but
religion. No one wants his child’s mind,
to be the dumping-ground for twenty
creeds; but surely Americans can unite
in these practical ways upon the religion
of the Fatherhood of God ai^ the
brotherhood of man.—Dr. S. Parkes
Cadman, The Literary Digest.