"... in fair Verona, where we lay our scene."
The level of crime in Verona for this time period is fairly high; there are lots of brawls, lots of dueling, a bit of robbing and thieving, and a even bit of outright murder. Many of the upper class families in Verona got their start in crime. While the family figureheads had certainly abandoned the foul deeds of their fathers, many of these families kept company with assassins and criminal leaders. The leader of Verona was under immense pressure to put an end to this society of crime: both the people of Verona and exterior forces demanded it.
The Republic of Venice invaded and claimed the small, northern city of Verona in 1405. In this annexed territory, Venice left the ruling nobles and law enforcement of Verona in place, sending their own “police” in addition to the forces of Verona. The idea was that the Veronese forces would handle any internal struggle, unless it got too out of hand. The Venetians handled external strife, such as threats from another city or issues with foreign traders. Prince Escalus, the ruler of Romeo & Juliet’s Verona, must have felt a huge push to end the feud between the Montagues and Capulets. Not only were the townspeople tired of getting caught up in the long lasting feud, but also the Venetian police force must have been close to intervention.