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City Document. — No. 2. 


FOR 1861. 




Cits ^f llff^feur^ 

In Board of Aldermen, January 13, 1862. 
^ered to be printed for the use of the Ci 

JOSEPH W. TUCKER, City Cleric. 

Laid upon the table and ordered to be printed for the use of the City 


To the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Roxhury : 

Gentlemen, — I present for your consideration the 
Annual Report of the Police Department for the year 
1861, viz.: — 

There have been 1374 arrests in all, 35 of which vrere 
for offences committed without the city, leaving 1339 in 
the city alone; being 85 less than in 1860, and 221 more 
than in 1859. 

The arrests were disposed of as follows, viz. : — 

Discharged without complaint 781 

Sentenced to the House of Correction 154 

Fined and paid 121 

Committed for non-payment of fine 87 

Discharged by Court 63 

Bound over to the Superior Court 34 

Sentence postponed 26 

Put on probation 22 

Appealed 22 

Fined and put under bonds 20 

Placed on file 18 

Committed for want of bail 16 

Put under bonds to keep the peace 5 

Ordered to pay costs 5 

Total 1374 


The causes of arrests were as follows, viz. : — 

Drunkenness 684 

Assault and battery 160 

Larceny ; 129 

Common drunkenness 75 

Disturbing the peace 65 

Vagrancy 49 

Fruit-pilfering 22 

Violation of the City Ordinances 22 

Malicious mischief 21 

Threatening bodily harm 20 

Breaking and entering 16 

Assault on ofiGicers 14 

Highway robbery • 12 

Violation of the Sunday law 8 

Insanity 7 

Desertion 7 

Attempt at larceny 7 

Not recognizing as witnesses 6 

Fugitives from justice 5 

Burglary 5 

Wilful trespass 4 

Larceny in a building 4 

Night- walking 3 

Truancy 3 

Fraudulent conveyance 3 

Stubbornness 2 

Assault with intent to kill 2 

Violation of the liquor law 2 

Refusing to destroy dogs 1 

Keeping a disorderly house 1 

Having counterfeit money 1 

Common brawling 1 

Indecent exposure 1 

Receiving stolen goods 1 

Obstructing horse cars 1 

Suspicious persons 1 

Sending a challenge to fight a duel 1 

Surrendered by bail 1 

Assault with intent to commit a rape 1 

Horse stealing 1 

Carried forward 1369 


Brought forward 1369 

Common begging 1 

Interfering with officers 1 

Larceny from the person 1 

Breaking and entering with intent to burn 1 

Murder 1 

Total 1374 

Of the 35 arrests for offences committed without the city, 
14 were for larceny, 11 for breaking and entering, 4 for 
burglary, 4 for fruit-pilfering, 1 for assault and battery, 
and 1 for refusing to destroy dogs. 

It will thus be perceived that the arrests for our own 
city, for larceny, are reduced to 115, for breaking and en- 
tering to 5, for burglary to 1, for fruit-pilfering to 18, and 
for assault and battery to 159. 

Of the 1374 arrests, 1068 were of persons of foreign 
birth, and of the remainder, 117 were born in Roxbury; 
245 were minors; 1153 were males and 221 females. 

1124 persons have been provided with lodgings in the 
Lockup, of which 818 were foreigners; 1006 were males 
and 118 females; 154 were minors. 

The regular force of the Police Department, as at pres- 
ent organized, consists of the Marshal, 7 Day-men, 11 
Watchmen, and the Keeper of the Lockup, numbering 19 
men in all, whose regular pay for the year amounts to the 
sum of $14,873.75, being $40.75 per day. There are also 
some Special Policemen, who are on duty, during the Sum- 
mer, on Sundays, and at such other times as their services 
may be needed ; these are paid only for such services as 
they render when called upon. 

The expenses of the Department for the year have been 
about $16,267.04, being $695.05 less than for the year 
previous. An additional Watchman was appointed in March 
last, whose pay for the remainder of the year amounted to 
$600. Had the number of Watchmen remained the same, 
the expenses for the year would have been $1304.80 less 
than in 1860. 


The earnings of the Police, in the shape of fees, during 
the year, have been about $2324.65, while the number of 
complaints before the Police Court has been 138 less than 
in 1860. Had the number been equal, the earnings would 
have been about $2862.85. The fees all go to the City. 

There has been expended for Sunday Police, for Special 
Police, and for extra services of the regular Police, the 
sum of $571, being about 56 per cent, less than in 1860 j 
which decrease is accounted for, in the comparatively 
small number of incendiary fires, the few burglaries, in ex- 
tra services which the Police have performed gratutiously, 
in the disposition to economise, and in the general quiet of 
our city. 

$239.49 has been expended for assistance rendered in 
arresting and securing prisoners and conveying them to 
Dedham after conviction. The balance of expenses is for 
stationery, food for prisoners, bedding for cells, cleaning, 
whitewashing, and ordinary repairs in the Police Ofl&ce and 

I have received, during the year, for fees, the sum of 
$91.15, and paid out for conveyance, assistance, &c., the 
sum of $50.24, both of which items are included in the ag- 
gregate of expenses and receipts. 

The only fees now drawn by the Police, are mittimus 
fees in cases continued and bound over for further exami- 
nation, which for the year numbered only 34. The warrant 
and witness fees, and mittimus fees on final commitments, 
are all drawn by the Clerk of the Police Court, and by 
him paid over to the City Treasurer. 

The number of complaints before the Police Court has 
been 19 per cent, less than in 1860, and 25 per cent, less 
than in 1859. The complaints for assault and battery, 
and for disturbing the peace, have been 38 per cent, less 
than in 1860, and 8 per cent, less than in 1859 ; while for 
the last six months of each year, 49 per cent, less than in 
1860, and 23 per cent, less than in 1859. These facts in- 


dicate that the quiet and good order of our city has expe- 
rienced a manifest improvement, the permanency of which 
must in a degree be judged by its cause. 

Intemperance still continues to be a fruitful source of 
crime and suffering in our city, which the present liquor 
law seems inadequate to abate. The facts which have 
from time to time come under my observation, in relation 
to prosecutions for violations of the law, convince me that 
a law granting licenses, under proper restrictions, provid- 
ing a penalty for selling, or keeping with intent to sell 
without a license, and for adulteration, also, with a reason- 
able fine for the first and second convictions, and for all 
afterwards, leaving it optional with the Courts whether the 
punishment shall be a fine or imprisonment, and also pro- 
viding a way for obtaining evidence, would greatly dimin- 
ish the present evils of intemperance, and be sustained by 
a large majority of the citizens. 

If such a law can be framed, it does seem to be in 
accordance with the dictates of wisdom and humanity that 
it should be done. 

Our city has been very fortunate during the past year 
in regard to incendiary fires, which have been of frequent 
occurrence in some of the neighboring cities and towns. 

Upon investigation of the circumstances attending the 
fires in our city for the last three years, I am firmly of the 
opinion that quite a large per cent, of them has been the 
result of attempts to defraud insurance companies; and 
had the law in relation to fire inquests been still in force, 
I believe that some of this class of incendiaries might have 
been brought to justice, and others deterred from making 
attempts. It may be that this law was abused in some 
places, but I am not aware that it ever has in Roxbury, 
where its repeal seems to be productive of evil. 

The number of juvenile offenders in our city seems 
rather to be on the increase. Some of these commit 
offences which would send older persons to the State's 

8 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 2. 

Prison. They do not attend school, but go prowling 
aboutj entering the premises of the citizens, and stealing 
what they can find in their way, even not hesitating to 
break open houses. Some of these boys are too young 
to send to the House of Correction, and if they are simply 
fined, and their fines paid, it is their parents and friends 
who are punished. In some instances they are let off on 
probation, which seems almost a farce. 

These boys, though bad enough in themselves, are con- 
tinually exerting a bad influence, and leading others astray ; 
and in this connection I cannot but endorse the well-timed 
remarks of the Chairman of the School Committee upon 
truancy, and add that the experience of the Police is, that 
while the "Truant School" was in successful operation, 
the number of juvenile offences was diminished, and that 
since the school was discontinued there has been a marked 

As one of the means for lessening crime, I cannot but 
express my wish that the " Truant School " may be again 
established; and should the City Council in its wisdom 
determine to do so, I would most respectfully recommend 
that the Truant Officer, whose business it would be to make 
complaints, should not be a member of the Police Depart- 

Dealers in old junk are quite numerous in our city. 
Many of them are believed to be irresponsible persons, 
who do not hesitate to purchase stolen property from a 
class of boys who will steal whenever they can find pur- 
chasers for the stolen articles. 

There is now no way of regulating the purchase and 
sale of old junk and second-hand articles, except by the 
passage of a City Ordinance, in conformity with sections 
25, 26 and 27 of chapter 88 of the General Statutes; and 
I would respectfully call your attention to the expediency 
of passing such an Ordinance. 

The keeping of swine and goats, and the collecting of 


swill by unauthorized persons, is a source of great annoy- 
ance to many of our citizens, and I am frequently receiv- 
ing complaints upon the subject. 

In view of the hard times and scarcity of work, the City 
Government resolved to be as lenient as possible in en- 
forcing the Ordinances in relation to these offences. In 
accordance with their suggestions and advice, I have 
refrained from commencing prosecutions. Advantage has 
been taken of this leniency, and the small inch has now 
grown to be a large ell; swine being quite numerous, and 
in some localities in our city, goats may be seen in large 
flocks, paying no respects to good manners and division 
lines. Whether this leniency shall longer continue, is for 
your Honorable Board to determine. 

I have received frequent complaints from citizens who 
have been annoyed by the barking and biting of dogs ; and 
it seems extremely desirable that some quiet method, dif- 
ferent from the present, may be adopted for destroying 
the many worse than useless curs now infesting our city. 

Many of the canine race have breathed their last in our 
city during the last year; but there are now quite too 
many who "still live." The records of the "Canine 
Undertaker" show that he has buried 687 dogs, besides 
968 cats, 87 hogs, 10 goats, and 1 fish. Quite a large 
proportion of these dead animals have been found in local- 
ities where they would soon become offensive, if not taken 
care of. 

There has been much extra labor performed the past 
year by the Police, for which they receive no pay. And 
it gives me great pleasure here to say, that whenever I 
have called upon them to render extra services gratuitous- 
ly, they have responded with cheerfulness and alacrity. 

The Police Office, in the day time, is under the charge 

of one of my Assistants, who keeps the daily record, and 

in the absence of the Marshal gives all needful directions ; 

and without detracting from the merits of any other mem- 


10 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 2. 

ber of the department, I will here say that I have entire 
confidence in his faithfulness, and efficiency as an oflficer, 
and his character as a man. 

At night the office is under the charge of one of the 
Day-men, whose business it is to attend to all calls, and 
give all needful information to the Watchmen relative 
thereto. Some of the Watchmen call at the office each 
hour during the night, for the purpose of reporting matters 
of importance, which may have come to their knowledge 
during the night, and of attending to calls for their ser- 

One of the Watchmen remains at the office during the 
day, for the purpose of attending to all needful calls. 
Each Day-man spends fifty-two nights at the office during 
the year, and each Watchman half as many days ; these 
services are all rendered gratuitously. 

The Keeper of the Lockup has the charge of the pris- 
oners during the night, and of the cells, and also acts as 
Officer of the Court. He is a faithful and an efficient 
officer, and a humane man ; the latter qualification being 
indispensable for an officer having the charge of confined 
prisoners, aud persons who apply for lodgings in the cells. 

In my humble opinion, the Roxbury Police, as a whole, 
are as faithful and efficient a body of men as can be found 
in any police organization. I have ever found them willing 
to do their duty faithfully. As a body they have merited 
my confidence, and I cheerfully award them their just 
meed of praise. 

The duties of the Police are of a various, and often of 
an arduous and dangerous character, — requiring men 
of energy, efficiency, coolness, and courage; not merely 
physical courage, but a high moral courage, which fears 
not to go straight forward in the path of duty, alike insen- 
sible to flattery and to frowns. A man who lacks moral 
courage can never be fitted for a good Police Officer, no 
matter what may be his other qualifications. 


Policemen are expected to put up with insulting remarks 
— this they are willing to do ; — and in the discharge of 
their duties they are subjected to severe personal assaults, 
often endangering their limbs, and even their lives, for 
which offences our Courts inflict altogether too light penal- 
ties. To inflict no more punishment for assaulting an 
officer while in the discharge of his duty, than for a simple 
assault and battery on a citizen, is absurd and unjust, and 
has a tendency to encourage disturbances and breaches of 
the peace, rendering the person of the citizen less secure. 

I have been frequently importuned to recommend men 
for situations on the Police. In their selection I have ever 
had but one object in view, viz., to get the best men for the 
situations. And in justice to myself, I am free to say that, 
so far as I am concerned, in no single instance has an 
applicant's political opinions had the slightest weight in his 
appointment or rejection. I have ever considered the 
Police Department too important an organization to be 
trifled with in this respect. 

If our citizens expect to maintain an efficient and trust- 
worthy police department, Police Officers must be made 
to feel that they are to be judged by their characters as 
men and officers, and not by their political preferences. It 
is no objection to a Police Officer that he has a political 
opinion of his own, which he lets be known in a proper 
and becoming manner at the ballot-box. But Police 
Officers should refrain from taking part in political discus- 
sions, or from mingling in political strifes, bearing in mind 
that by so refraining, they can better preserve their use- 
fulness and efficiency. 

The citizens are all equally interested in the maintenance 
of order and the suppression of crime, and a man's politics 
gives him no superior claim to the protection of the laws, 
or to the services of the Police ; for the highwayman knocks 
his victim down, without asking him how he voted — the 
burglar, when he breaks into a dwelling, does so without 

12 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 2. 

inquiring the politics of its owner — the incendiary, when he 
sets fire to a building, cares not whether it is the property of 
an old-line whig, or a new-made republican — the thief will 
steal the property of our late President, just as quick as 
he will that of the most radical abolitionist, — and the 
drunken rowdy is just as ready to fight a union man, as a 
republican or a democrat. 

It is crime, and not politics, with which the Police have 
to deal, and the preservation of peace and good order in 
the community, is of vastly more importance than any 
political organization. 

I can see no reason why the Police should not be as 
independent of all political changes, as the Judges of our 

Some apprehension was felt, in the early part of the 
Summer, that the troubled state of our country might lead 
to disturbances in our own city, which would endanger its 
peace. But no such fears now exist; and it may well be 
a subject of congratulation, that the close of the year has 
brought with it so much of peace, quiet, and good order 
here, while in many of the cities of our common country it 
is otherwise. 

The number of Police is comparatively small for the 
amount of territory to be looked after; and under other 
circumstances, and a more prosperous state of the finances 
of our city, I should very likely recommend an increase of 
the number. But the city was never in a more quiet state 
than at the present time ; and so long as this quiet con- 
tinues, I see no good reason why we cannot get along with- 
out adding to the number. 

It has been my practice, whenever appearances seem to 
Indicate the need, to put out a secret watch for the special 
purpose of watching the movements of incendiaries and 
burglars, more particularly the former ; by this means some 
incendiaries have already been caught in the act, and I 
have good reason for believing that others have been de- 


terred, and much valuable property saved from fire, among 
which are some of our public school-houses. 

The most experienced and trustworthy men have been 
selected for this watch, and they have conducted their 
movements with the utmost secresy and caution. 

The incendiary may not so much fear the regular watch, 
whose movements can be seen ; but when he feels that there 
are men on the watch for him, and knows not who they are, 
or where to find them, he hesitates long before setting a fire. 
And the burglar, when he finds men moving about in a 
mysterious manner, not in the public streets alone, but in 
the yards and premises of citizens, he feels that it is not 
safe for him to operate, and seeks other localities for his 

I am firmly of the opinion, that the employment of a se- 
cret Police has been productive of the most satisfactory 
results, not only in the saving of property and prevention 
of crime, but in avoiding the necessity for a large perma- 
nent increase of the regular force. 

Before our Police Court, the rights of the poorest and 
humblest are as much respected as those of the wealthy 
and influential. I believe our Judge to be consciencious 
in his decisions, and his leanings are ever on the side of 

I must bear witness to the faithfulness and competency 
of the Clerk of the Police Court, who is ever willing and 
ready to perform his part. His labors during the past 
year have been very much increased, owing to an increase 
of about 36 per cent, of the civil cases. 

The Police have had frequently to call in the aid of the 
City Physician to dress the wounds of prisoners and oth- 
ers brought to the Lockup. His services have ever been 
rendered promptly and with skill. 

My personal relations with the members of the Govern- 
ment, during the past year, have been of a pleasing char- 
acter; and my thanks are certainly due them, for the 

14 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 2. 

cordial manner in which they have sustained me in my 
efforts to preserve the peace and quiet of our city. 

My thanks are also due to all who have in any way 
aided me, or the Police Department, in the discharge of 

Respectfully submitted. 

BENJ. MERIAM, City Marshal. 
Roxhury, Jan., 1862.