Historians and sociologists often treat the appearance of uniformed, armed, and bureaucratically organized police as one of the effects of industrialization. Because Europe and America had few cities of great size before the Industrial Revolution, we often have failed to separate the impact of urbanization from that of industrialization.

The data from China, on the other hand, suggest that city police forces are rooted in the social effects of population concentration with or without industrialization. In particular, the dynamics of a large, dense, and heterogeneous population produce an increased number of urban subcultures, and the potential for constant conflict among them leads to growth of the territorial arrangement that sociologists call spatial order.

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