Chapter 5 Pg. 93-97
Historical Background : Guerry and Quetelet
The first annual national crime statistics are published in France in 1827,
about 15 years after Beccaria wrote his book that formed the basis for
It soon became clear that these crime statistics were astonishingly regular.
The rates of crime in general and of particular crimes, such as murder and
rape, remained relatively constant from year-to-year. In addition, some
places in the nation had higher crime rates, but others had lower rates, and
these differences remained relatively constant from year-to-year.
The regularity of crime statistics suggested that Beccaria had been correct in
his argument that rather than being entirely the product of free will, crime
must be influenced by factors in the larger society.
Andre-Michel Guerry (1802-66) was a French lawyer who soon after he
look he took an interest in the statistics, was appointed director of criminal
statistics for the French Ministry of Justice.
o He used she ecological maps to represent different crime rates in
relation to various social factors.
o He measured wealth and poverty by the amount of direct taxation and
he pointed out that the wealthiest sections have a great deal of
poverty in them.
o He then concluded that poverty itself did not cause property crime.
Rather, the main factor was opportunity: in the wealthier provinces
there was more to steal.
o Gurry also attacked the widely held view that the lack of education
was associated with crime.
o He used to be statistics to determine the educational levels of the
various sections of France. The most educated sections were in
northeast France when almost 75% of young men could read and
write it while the least educated sections were in western and central
France where only about 7 percent of young men were literate.
o He then showed that area with the highest educational levels had the
highest rates of violent crime and the areas with the lowest rates of
such crimes had the lowest educational levels.
Adolphe Quetelet (1796-1874) was a Belgian mathematician and
astronomer who had achieved considerable success in these fields while still
o His fi