. The Hidden Realm of Rural Property Crime / 1 / 5
From Robbery to Organized Crime: Gangs, Bandits, and Horsethieves
The Economics of Property Crime
5. From Insult to Homicide: Honor, Violence, and
Crimes against Persons / 145
Insult and Honor
Assaults and Fights
6. Questions of Belief: "Superstition," Crime, and the Law / 1 7 6
Foundations of Persecution: Crimes against the Faith
Exploiting Popular Belief
Fine Lines: From Superstition to Crime
Powers of the Dead
7. Varieties of
. Its rural markets regularly attracted
pickpockets and horsethieves who plied their trade or sold its fruits, not to
mention smugglers, swindlers, forgers, and bootleggers. According to one
former justice of the peace, "Our winter bazaars and summer markets are
places where petty thieves find the greatest freedom. There they pick pock-
ets and steal goods for domestic use for which they otherwise would have to
spend money."17 Larger markets served as sites where lucrative frauds might
be attempted. At the start of 1916, for example, a Voronezh peasant showed
school early, "unstable moral foundations,"
alcoholism and bootlegging, an excessive number of holidays, the unavail-
ability of rational entertainments, an explosion of rural household divi-
sions, and the granting of internal passports to family members without the
household head's permission. Within this array of problems, the final pro-
vincial report gave particular attention to the growth of alcohol consump-
tion and bootlegging that followed the state's 1894 introduction of a liquor
monopoly. Together with outwork, this explosion of public drinking was
of total of-
fenses. Crimes against persons (insults to honor, threats, and violence)
made up 15.9 percent of the caseload, and administrative infractions
(mostly passport violations, breaking of fire regulations, and bootlegging)
claimed 16.8 percent.33 During 1905, the five land captains of one Riazan'
district heard 629 criminal cases, of which 369 (58.7 percent) were property
offenses. Nearly half of this number (172 cases, or 27.3 percent of all
crimes) involved theft of wood from forests. Infractions of fire safety regula-
tions accounted for another 8
organized under the heading “Columbia County, Complaint, Sheriff” in
the Florida State Archives). The recurring complaint was that the sheriff
and his police force were involved in bootlegging and in the “doling out of
confiscated liquor for gifts.” One letter, written by someone who claimed
to be one of the sheriff’s best friends, noted that “murder, bootlegging,
white slavery and numerous other crimes are going unpunished.” “Mrs.
Romey brought her trouble on even if she was in delicate condition,” the
letter continued, “but Mr. Romey was murdered and why I ask you was
being lost little by little, and there are even habitual thieves in
some villages." T h e result, he claimed, was a sizable increase in the number
Officials and members of educated society had long argued that igno-
rance, immorality, and vice lay at the root of most crimes perpetrated by
peasants. As an inspector (revizor) of state peasant settlements noted in the
late 1830s, villagers of both sexes were quite simply being ruined by liquor.
"In the bootlegging establishments people . . . gather, drink together, en-
tertain one a n o t h e r
spoke of Mahmoud Darwish and the desire to find parallel works in Hebrew and
arabic on similar topics with different, even opposing, perspectives. Thrilled to
find a student with similar interests, I hired her. We continued working together in
gathering films from the region to show for film nights in the department. I offered
her my Israeli film library, and she was my gatherer of bootlegged copies whenever
she had the chance to fly home, often returning with parallel films by arabs.
Mais’s story represents the peculiar melting pot of the peoples
harmed its interests—robbery, bootlegging, and similar offenses. For peas-
ants, then, the already poor performance of police and courts only grew
worse at a time when the countryside had become far more dangerous. It is
little wonder that the years 1 9 0 8 - 1 3 witnessed a sharp increase in the num-
ber of bitter complaints from villagers concerning courts, police, and the
problem of crime.
These complaints, it should be stressed, most commonly concerned
crimes perpetrated by peasants against one another. T h e instability brought
to village organs of
in Lucand, Le pinard des poilus, 114.
306 / Notes
45. Ibid., 115.
46. Philippe Roudié, Vignobles et vignerons du Bordelais, 1850–1980
(Bordeaux: Presses Universitaires de Bordeaux, 1994), 244–45.
47. Ibid., 247–49.
48. Ibid., 248–51.
49. Ellen NicKenzie Lawson, Smugglers, Bootleggers, and Scofflaws:
Prohibition and New York City (Albany: State University of New York Press,
50. Ibid., 105.
51. Daniel Deckers, Im Zeichen des Traubenadlers: Eine Geschichte des
deutschen Weins (Mainz: Philipp von Zabern, 2010), 85–86.
52. Treaty of Versailles