I have been helping with research for a book and I have been perusing old newspaper from 100 years ago and crime-wise, you would be hard-pressed to figure out they are not from this century.
Murder in all shapes and modes. From your simple robbery gone wrong to mass killings. Murder-suicides because of mental illness, hardships and very possibly addiction-induced common as dirt. Robbery-murders? All the time and so ever gruesome like this example.
“Head pounded to a mass of jelly with ice pick.” Holy crap, that is some cruel dedication right there.
Serial Killers? Several with head counts well above the dozen. So far I read of two uncaught bastards specializing in young children: one only boys and one in girls. The papers did not specify if they were sexually attacked which would be the norm for those times not to report.
And even though guns were easy to obtain, you would have a hard time finding crimes using them. Tools implements and handles were the favorite which meant the killers liked it close and personal. Guns were used in about 15% of the cases in my estimation and this is the era when you literally could buy a gun at your local hardware store, general store and pawn shop without any idiotic government paperwork and I am not including private sales.
As for the cities with most crime? New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis ae mentioned over and over in editorials. What a surprise! It makes you think that all the Gun Control laws passed over this last century had not had an impact on crime and that maybe, just maybe there are other causes that may need to be addressed.
What crimes is not the same (at least not yet)? Lynching and Anarchist-related killings. in the 1910s, lynching is not yet common but its frequency is picking up and it is interesting that although the majority of recipients of what they called “necktie parties” were black, a sizeable amount were also whites, specially cop killers.
Unions were in full fighting mode with the Anarchists taking to bomb the crap out pf the opposition or if explosives were not available, committing arson was an acceptable option. In at least one occasion, they shot a parade of the American Legion celebrating Armistice day under the excuse of defending themselves from men carrying banners and flags. Even though I had some serious push back from modern “Anarchists,” the ones back then were unabashed Bolsheviks (and they admitted so) since the Soviet Revolution was the fashionable flavor of the end of that decade. In other words, Socialists and Communists doing their stuff.
I am starting the Roaring 20s and guess what was one of the first crimes I find? A Drive-By by members of the Black Hand.