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How did the Police try to catch Jack the Ripper?

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How did the Police try to catch Jack the Ripper? The police used many techniques to try to catch Jack the Ripper that were mainly traditional and involved trial and error. One of the methods used by the police was the questioning of eyewitness's. This was done to some success but the people questioned were often vague and did not give away much information. An example of this happening would be Elizabeth Long's statement where she is clearly unsure about what the murderer looked like, "He looked to me like a foreigner, as well as I could make out." These eyewitness accounts often were either useless or sent the police out looking for someone who was not Jack the Ripper and therefore wasted police time. ...read more.


There was no reward on offer. The idea of localising the search also meant that only a few types of people were questioned. For example, only butchers, doctors and slaughterers (despite the coroners report in source C; "No mere slaughterer of animals could have carried out these operations.") The police also targeted people with 'criminal' facial characteristics (this was in accordance with the Darwinian theory which was popular at the time). The police generally tried to catch the Ripper in the act rather than to solve the crimes. This is illustrated by an article published by the Times Newspaper (source H), "...some accidental circumstance will lead to a trace which may be followed to a successful conclusion." ...read more.


In conclusion, the police force did use many techniques to try to find Jack the Ripper but many of these methods were too traditional to work. At the time there was a joke in punch that showed a policeman knocking on somebody's door and saying, "Are you Jack the Ripper". This sums up the general public opinion at the time about how badly the police were treating the Ripper case. Methods that the Metropolitan police force used included questioning eyewitnesses, publishing information to the public in the form of posters, narrowing down the search to a handful of people, trying to catch the ripper 'red-handed', trying to link with other police forces and vigilante groups and using blood hounds to try and track down Jack. ...read more.

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