Public Order Crimes
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"My ancestors were Puritans from England. They arrived here in 1648 in the hope of finding greater restrictions than were permissible under English law at that time."
- Garrison Keillor

"…during which time the disagreement between the two candidates became increasingly heated, an escalation which was mirrored amongst their supporters. An exchange of words rapidly degenerated into one of missiles and blows, at which point the police stepped in to disperse the crowd. The local magistrate has suspended campaigning for two days to allow tempers to cool and eleven people were arrested for public order offences"

Basic Information

Public Order Crimes are actions that disrupt the public order, interfere with the operations of society, or just deviate from social norms, and so have been criminalized by a governing body. This category includes consensual crime, victimless crime, and many vices.

In some jurisdictions, this designation is (also) used for offences such as disturbing the peace, unlawful assembly, obstructing the highway, incitefull or offensive behaviour of various kinds and, indeed, rioting.

Examples of Public Order Crimes:
Recreational Drug Use

See Also:
Anti-Social Behavior Order
Drug-Related Crime
Signal Crime


2. Non-Fiction Book: Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do by Peter McWilliams

Game and Story Use

  • Organized Crime is sure to have it's fingers in a lot of this stuff.
  • In the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, the Anti-Saloon League and Temperance Movement stand against this stuff.
    • Could make for some interesting clashes in The Western. May be useful for inserting a subplot into a game in the later part of The Wild West that can't be solved with a gun.
  • Serves as a dividing line for characterization. The Chaotic Good Half-Elf Ranger thinks consensual crimes are a ridiculous thing to outlaw, meanwhile, his buddy the Lawful Good Paladin wants to hold everyone to a precise moral standard. Down in the Dungeon, or out on a Quest, this difference in outlook rarely matters - but it sometimes causes trouble in Adventure Towns.
  • In a campaign with reasonable stringency a lot of what PCs get up to in town might class as a public order offences - the traditional bar brawl alone could get you charged with affray or event riot, besides any cases of assault, whilst running about the streets at night could breach the peace (and almost certainly breaks curfew).
    • Depending on culture - some places may consider a brawl in a drinking house normal, but might object strongly to anything that spills out into the street.
    • Particularly non-adventurous towns could object strongly to any "vigilante" activity by PCs and demand they pursue the civillain "through the proper authorities". Solving a whole episode without killng something may turn out to drive those over-habituated to "that RPG" to distraction.
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