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At the turn of the 18th century, Christmas could be a very dangerous time for ordinary common folk like us. Back in those days, it was customary for bands of young men to go door-to-door, demanding food and drink and in exchange provide a song for the household’s entertainment. If nothing was given, the gang was as likely as not to break in and ransack and trash the house, as well as stealing whatever they found that they might want. The Christmas holiday was often just another excuse for thugs to run rampant on society.

In 1828, New York City established its first professional police force. The city government felt that it was necessary that they respond to a Christmas riot.