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Why were the police unable to catch Jack the Ripper?

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Why were the police unable to catch Jack the Ripper? Even today it takes quite some time to catch a murderer on the run, but in the case of Jack the Ripper, there were many aspects police today would not come across. Jack the Ripper was not your average killer, if there is one, he leaves no evidence or clues at all, and his killings are far worse than any we would come across today. Police and vigilantes filled the streets day and night and angry mobs attacked the 'likely suspects'. There were many things that added to the fact that the ripper wasn't caught. It didn't help that many people of the town were coming forward to the police and giving information about just general people acting strangely, these allegations were indeed false and the people had been released. The ripper was also very clever, he had advantages as to the locations he did the crimes in and also how quickly he worked. All of the murders except the last one took place in the dark alleys at night, which was a sensible decision. He obviously worked very quickly it took him roughly five minutes to do each murder. This is shown by the fact that Police Constables were patrolling Whitechapel at regular intervals and there was always someone on the look out, but no-one saw anything. ...read more.


In the Catherine Eddowes case, the chalk writing on the wall might have proved important in discovering who the killer was. The handwriting could have been compared with the letter or the postcard and this could have then been investigated further. It also didn't help that the police were unwilling to give any description of the ripper, which could've helped matters, because people would know who not to trust and who to look out for. All levels of police were very poorly prepared for an event such as this, and obviously had no idea about how to handle such a situation. The relationship between the people and the police was not very good, because of the police favouring the richer class of people. This was especially true in Whitechapel. This was because the police were mainly protecting the middle and upper classes who wanted the drugs, drunks, beggars and prostitutes removed. This made an initial bearing on the investigations, when the police were making inquiries about the streets and the people. The police had many witnesses, but they ignored most of the information and selected certain descriptions to follow up, which was a big mistake. They spent all of their time looking for a man who looked like a foreigner. People had described him in many different ways, things they should have taken into consideration were details like: height, which many people had included, whether he had a moustache or beard and average age. ...read more.


This also led the police to wasting time looking for a medical foreigner, who worked in either a slaughterhouse or an abattoir. There was an anti-Semitism view in the town, which made this even worse for the police. This was because the people were accusing many Jews, and the police were not sure if this was simply because they were Jews or if they really were connected to the case. The fact that the Home Secretary refused to give a reward probably hindered any response from the public. There was nothing for the people to work for, apart from peace of mind. If someone worked and worked pulling together clues they would be doing it all for no reward for such hard work and effort. In conclusion all of these points are important in trying to find out why the ripper wasn't caught. I think that the main problem was the police, they were very new to the business and used a very standard method of policing and detective work. This was very weakening because today the forensic science, DNA testing, fingerprinting etc. are the main key to discovering a criminals identity. Many other aspects added to the ripper escaping capture, but I feel that the limitations of the police were the main problem. Word Count: 1,416 ...read more.

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