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Jack the Ripper Question 5

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'The police were to blame for not capturing Jack the Ripper.' Use all the sources and your own knowledge to explain whether you agree with this view. I disagree, the police were not to blame for not capturing the Ripper as he was a very clever man with no motive to kill and he also didn't leave any clues behind so therefore the police didn't have anything to investigate from. As we can see in source H, part of an article published in the Times after the murder of Mary Kelly. 'The murders, so cunningly continued, are carried out with a complete ruthlessness which altogether baffles investigators. Not a trace is left of the murder, and there is no purpose in the crime to afford the slightest clue.' We can infer that it must have been extremely hard for the police with nothing to work with. The police were also not to blame for not catching the Ripper as Whitechapel was in a condition which could have made the Ripper kill even more people. It wasn't all down to the police as we can see clearly in source E an article published in a newspaper after murders of Polly Ann Nichols and Annie Chapman, 'Whitechapel are connected by a network of narrow, dark and crooked lanes. ...read more.


Source F a police leaflet says the following, 'should you know of any person to whom suspicion is attached, you are earnestly requested to communicate at once with the nearest police station', this leaflet was distributed to 80,000 houses. The police shouldn't be entirely blamed as they visited lodging houses and interviewed around 2,000 lodgers, sailors were also questioned. They took pictures of the victims which would have been very useful. In Mary Kelly's case she was the only one to have had her picture taken at the scene of the crime unlike the other four. At the time there was anti-Semitism towards the police, this would have stopped communication between the police and the people, which would have been harder for the police to capture the Ripper. The police did what they could have done at the time, with no forensic evidence, CCTV cameras DNA identification, finger printing and a national organised police force that we have today. As the killer struck randomly and only met his victims by chance made it harder for the police in 1888. However the police could have been blamed for reasons such as losing crucial evidence such as the message on the wall about the Jews which ...read more.


People in Whitechapel had no respect for the police, this is the reason why they mocked them and blamed them harshly for not catching the Ripper. George Hutchinson who was a prime suspect for Mary Kelly was not questioned at all by the police, which they should have done as his description was almost too good. The police should have given rewards as this would have motivated the people of Whitechapel to find the Ripper but in source G a part of a letter from the Home Secretary explains they shouldn't be offering rewards because 'offers of reward tended to produce more harm than good.' We also know that the murders either took place in Whitechapel or near Whitechapel, so therefore it should have been easier for the police to investigate and find him. We can see in source I the map of East London showing the sites of the murders and how close they were, if the police had put more policemen on patrol on every street at night then this could have resulted in them having a chance of catching the Ripper. In conclusion the police did what they could have done but they could of tried harder and to not have destroyed crucial evidence. ...read more.

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