In the Vedic times crimes were surpressed by strong governments headed by pious kings. Srila Prabhupada explains:
Monarchy is better than democracy because if the monarchy is very strong the regulative principles within the kingdom are upheld very nicely. Even one hundred years ago in the state of Kashmir in India, the king was so strong that if a thief were arrested in his kingdom and brought before him, the king would immediately chop off the hands of the thief. As a result of this severe punishment there were practically no theft cases within the kingdom. Even if someone left something on the street, no one would touch it. The rule was that the things could be taken away only by the proprietor and that no one else would touch them. In the so-called democracy, wherever there is a theft case the police come and take note of the case, but generally the thief is never caught, nor is any punishment offered to him. As a result of incapable government, at the present moment thieves, rogues and cheaters are very prominent all over the world.