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Jack the Ripper Coursework - failures of the police, living conditions and the character of the killer.

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In the streets of London in Whitechapel between the months of August and September 1888, a disturbed man, given the name of 'Jack the Ripper' by the press, brutally murdered 5 prostitutes. His unfortunate victims included Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth stride, Katherine Edows, Mary Kelly and his 1st possible victim Martha Tabram. This essay will evaluate the question 'Was it the fault of the police that 'Jack the Ripper' was never caught' by looking at the role of the police, conditions in Whitechapel and whether 'jack' had medical knowledge. I will asses this by looking at a variety of sources to answer the question. In this section I am going to argue if it was the police's fault they were or were not capable of catching murderers in 1888. Some people believe that the police were capable of catching murderers in 1888. Source 2 shows this by explaining that the police were very loved and happy to help. A quote even says 'the blue coats, the defenders of order, are becoming the national favourites' this shows that the police were so willing to help they should have been able to catch a murderer. ...read more.


Therefore we can not judge if it has much reliability as it could be bias or just completely untrue. Some people argue that the living conditions in Whitechapel weren't that bad. 'All the surviving descriptions were written by middle class people who were horrified by what they saw'. This is a quote taken from Source B3 which supports the point. It explains that the other quotes were written by middle class visitors which were not used to the conditions and could have exaggerated their views. Another quote that supports this is 'the levels of crime were not high' this suggests that even though Whitechapel had a bad reputation, it is only opinionated and the facts prove differently. The source was taken from Law and Order, recently published by London revision and was written to show we can't trust the sources written by middle class visitors in Whitechapel. In conclusion I believe that the Whitechapel conditions did make it hard to catch 'Jack'. This is because police were reluctant to go into certain areas, overcrowding and an unrecorded immigration class meant it would be easier to "disappear". Also the "casual" violence of everyday would be ideal for the Ripper to hide his murder making it extremely difficult for the police. ...read more.


From analysing all of the sources, I can now answer the question, was it the fault of the police that Jack the Ripper was never caught? I believe that it wasn't the fault of the police. This is because during the time that the police were looking for the Ripper, they didn't have half the things we have today, so I believe it is unfair to judge them by today's standards. They had a shortage of officers and considering the over crowding streets and the constant repetitive crime, the police had no chance of catching someone with such skill. The Whitechapel conditions were also on the Rippers side. The smog and the drunken citizens overcrowding the streets would not have been any help to the investigation. The experience and expertise of the Ripper would have also largely contributed to the failure as most criminals would have had no experience and would have been easy to catch, where as "Jack" was just too clever even for the entire police force. Not to mention the lack of equipment the police had, there was no finger printing or DNA, this meant that they had no way of tracking the Ripper as he was to clever to leave any evidence useful to the police behind. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jack the ripper coursework ...read more.

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