The University of North Carolina news letter. online resource (None) 1914-1944, April 28, 1926, Image 1
The news in this publi cation is released for the press on receipt. THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA NEWS LETTER Published Weekly by the University of North Caro lina for the University Ex tension Division. 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. Tabulating Data 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^ the court. 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. Some Comparisons 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 for 1923-24. Region Ail The State 6-66 Tidewater Plain and Sandhill...4.94 Piedmont Mountain 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 figures. 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. Age Factor 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 eral cofciplaint. 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 It is^not 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 and Observer. 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. White 4.93 4.13 3.86 4.94 6.44 Negro 7.37 6.60 6.18 9.99 12.29 I. General facts by sections: The State Area, square miles J*’™ Population, total 1920 -.’.rae’iiF: White population Negro population •Indian population Urban population 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. 25 Tidewater Counties 12,212 422,864 246,504 176,360 79,283 / no 26 Plain and Sand hill coiiinties 14,319 809,306 464,562 344,863 9,891 111,041 25 Piedmont Counties 11,811 87l,209(^ 664,329 206,880 232.193 90 60 131 26.6 96.6 61 139 23.3 72.7 Indians in counties in which Indians weje indicted. II. Crime facts. 14 484 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... .69 .48 1.28 29.2 31.5 2,007 4.74 4.13 5.60 354 .84 .68 1.05 193 .46 ( .27 .72 32.1 34.6 126 7Q 36 165- 112 23.6 98,9 124.3 Others included with whites. 3,996 5,347 4.94 6 14 3.96 4.94 6.18 9.99 969 1.486 1.20 l.rt 1.02 1.53 1.40 2,26. 633 743 .78 -85 .47 -67 1.21 1-75 29 1 27.7 32.4 30.6 26 Mountain Counties 10,384 455,764 419,730 34,414 1,610 . 46,146 125 26 166 18.8 62.8 3,134 6.44 12.29 1,079 . 2.37 2.29 3.22 204 .45 .35 1.77 30.5 30.9 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 about it. 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 years. 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 Times. - 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 variety. 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.