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'The police were not completely to blame for not capturing Jack the Ripper', use the sources and your own knowledge to explain whether you agree with this view.

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Introduction

GCSE HISTORY COURSEWORK JACK THE RIPPER 5. STUDY ALL OF THE SOURCES 'THE POLICE WERE TO BLAME FOR NOT CAPTURING JACK THE RIPPER' USE THE SOURCES AND YOUR OWN KNOWLEDGE TO EXPLAIN WHETHER YOU AGREE WITH THIS VIEW. The police were not completely to blame for not capturing Jack the Ripper. There were many other factors that contributed to this. Jack the Ripper himself used various different methods to escape capture, the media played an important role, there were also problems with witnesses and the Whitechapel area also helped him to avoid capture. There were many mistakes that the police made during their investigation, however there were a lot of factors that they could not avoid. One thing that the police did do to try and capture Jack the Ripper was put more police on the beat. It did cut down crime, however this may not have changed the situation on the streets, because the fog that descended onto the Eastend at night due to its proximity to the river Thames meant that Jack the Ripper could jump in and out of shadows. The fog just added to the poorly lit streets of Whitechapel, which was a great advantage for the Ripper. The police also tried to catch him by doing door-to-door enquiries. It shows that the police were trying to catch him however it would have been an unsuccessful procedure for a number of reasons. Firstly a lot of people would have been scared to answer their doors when they saw that the police are at their door. ...read more.

Middle

Both of these police forces were competing to solve the murders. A good example of this is the instructions given by Major Henry Smith the leader of the City Police Force to his men. He told them not to share any information they gathered with the Metropolitan Police Force. The leader of the Metropolitan Police Force Sir Charles Warren rubbed off a message supposedly left by the Ripper because he did not want the City Police Force reading it and he was afraid it would lead to anti-Semitic rioting. The competing by the two forces to solve the murders and the hiding of information, allowed the Ripper to avoid capture. Jack the Ripper himself also played a major part in not being captured by the police. He was very clever because he committed the murders in a very small area controlled by two police forces. He would have easily been able to escape from the police, because if he knew the area well then he could use the interconnecting ally ways to get away from the crime scenes quickly. Source I, a map of the East End in the 1888 showing the sites of the murders, shows us that all of the murders took place in very close proximity to each other with small narrow roads or ally ways connecting everything together. The Ripper was also able to avoid captured by the police, because he left no clues to why he was murdering these women and also every murder was random, because there were no links, between any of the victims apart from the fact that they were all prostitutes. ...read more.

Conclusion

It was a very poor rundown area with a lot of interconnecting ally ways. These ally ways would have made it very easy for the Ripper to escape from the crime scene. Source J is a photograph of the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street. Annie Chapman's body was lying against the fence with her head on the step. This shows that the Ripper would have been able to use the ally way connecting to the back of the terrace houses to murder his victims and then escape out of them very quickly. The Whitechapel area also had a fog that descended upon it because of its close proximity to the River Thames. This would have allowed the Ripper to step in and out of shadows to keep out of sight. The streets were also not very well lit because only gaslights were used. Whitechapel also had a very high crime rate. Eighty-three murders a year on average took place and the five murders by Jack the Ripper seem like nothing compared to the eighty-three that took place every year. A good example of these murders not being very important is when a scream of 'murder' was heard by two people, however they ignored it because it was something that was common in that area. Overall I feel that the police were not completely to blame for not capturing Jack the Ripper. There were many other contributing factors that also allowed him to avoid capture. The media did not make it any easier for the police in capturing Jack the Ripper and neither did the witnesses. The sheer poorness of the Whitechapel area also contributed to the police not capturing Jack the Ripper. ...read more.

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