Use Sources F and G Essay
Use Sources F and G
Use Sources F and G, and your own knowledge, to explain how the police tried to catch Jack the Ripper. There were many ways in which the police tried to catch Jack the Ripper. As Jack the Ripper was never caught, unfortunately, many of their techniques were flawed. Firstly, leaflets, (source F), were posted through people’s doors (in the East End) after the first two murders. These were to encourage people to come forward and put people’s names who were believed to be suspicious. There were however many short comings in this. Many people in the East End were illiterate, and consequently the leaflets made no impact on them at all.
In addition, there were problems even if the people could read. The leaflet itself was very general. “Should you know of any person to whom suspicion is attached… ” It is very universal. To some people, a non-Englishman would have been the most suspicious of all. People did not want to believe that a person of their own kind would commit such crimes, and therefore found foreigners suspicious. They would have gone along to the nearest police station and made their suspicions known. A catalyst for this could have been the description given in source D.
She mentions the last person seen with the victim looked like a foreigner. “He looked to me like a foreigner… ” This also brought out old prejudices, for example, against many Jews. There were quite a few Jews in the East End area, and many of them were blamed. Hence leaflets were not a very good idea. But, if the police were going to use leaflets (as they did not have brilliant technology) why did they post them after the murder of the fourth victim of the Ripper? Why was it done so late? There really should have been something done after the first murder.
Also, the police did not give a reward for catching the murderer. This was down to the fact that, at that time in London, giving rewards for catching criminals was discontinued. This was because it was felt that people put forward many names in order to get a reward, just by off chance, if one of their names was convicted. Because there were so many names put forward, police procedures were slowed down. (Source G) “The practise of offering reward for the discovery of criminals was discontinued some years ago because experiences showed that such offers of reward tended to produce more harm than good.
” Source G is a letter in reply to the Mile End Vigilance Committee. The Home Secretary at the time wrote this to The Mile End Vigilance Committee. This was like a neighbourhood watch in the East End. The Mile End Vigilance Committee wrote to the Home Secretary asking that if a reward could be put in place for the person that puts forward the killers name. However, even after two murders the Home Secretary believed that the Ripper case was not important enough for there to be a reward, and by doing this, he was “officially wiping his hands clean of the murders.
” “The Secretary of State is satisfied that there is nothing in the circumstances of the present case to justify a departure from this rule. ” No sooner had this letter been written by the Home Secretary, was there another murder. But still, the police were not allowed to give a reward for the reason that the Home Secretary did believe the case to be “worthy” of a reward. There were also other ways in which the police tried to catch Jack the Ripper, that are not mentioned in sources F and G. One way, which was extremely common for most major crimes in London, was the door-to-door investigation.
This consisted of members of the police going round each house within a certain radius of the crime scene and asking questions at the door to see if anyone had heard anything. Unfortunately for the police this was not too effective. As many people in the East End had committed some sort of crime, whether it be something very small like pick pocketing or something quite large such as murder, not many people actually opened the door. When the police were seen coming, most people would pretend not to be at home since a lot of them had something to hide and were scared the police had gone looking for them.
Moreover, the door-to-door investigation took a lot of police time up, especially if most people were not answering their door. It slowed down whole enquiry and they hardly got any where with it. If the door was answered, the police usually got the same type of responses, typically naming any foreigners nearby. Another way, which was frequently used, was the use of bloodhounds. These were dogs with a remarkable sense of scent. They were more often than not, taken to the crime scene, to get the scent of the scene within them. They were then allowed to wander off, to find another place in the area where the same scent was found.
This is where they hoped to find the killer, but normally the dogs ended up near someone who had been involved in the investigation and who had been in contact with the crime scene. The reason for this was that the police did not cordon off the crime scene, so a lot of passers-by would have got quite close to the scene and therefore carried the scent on them, which was sensed by the bloodhounds. Members of the police generally followed closely behind, but on one particular misty night they did not. They let the bloodhounds loose and regrettably they never returned.
An embarrassed police representative had to put out a notice to ask for any dogs found to be returned to the nearest police station. In Victorian times, it was largely believed that when someone died the image they had last seen stayed on the deceased’s retina. Therefore, police really would have got doctors to examine the eyeball and retina of the fatalities. However, as we know today this is untrue, examining the eyeball would have simply slowed down the police investigations further, by which time there probably would have been another murder to investigate.
The police force started to become more and more anxious as the number of Ripper victims increased. They subsequently increased the number of police on the streets. However this did not work to the extent they would have hoped. As there was so much crime on the streets of the East End, the police became more and more occupied with other criminal issues, which also made it easier for the Ripper to commit his murders. The police force also tried to use their modern day technology. However, this was also very much flawed.
Firstly, with today’s modern technology, the first things the doctor at the scene of crime will do is to take the fingerprints of items nearby, and a DNA test on the victim, to see if a so much as a hair was left by the assailant. However this technology was not available to doctors back then, and definitely would have been a huge disadvantage. Instead, they got qualified people to draw the scene of crime for further investigation back at the station. Unforunately even these qualified people made mistakes, as it was dark when the Ripper murders occurred.
It was also extremely difficult to put all the details in, so the artists may have left bits out that they felt were not very important but may actually have been quite significant. Not only did the police get special artists to draw the crime scene, but they also used eye witnessed descriptions of the suspect such as the one in source D by Elizabeth Long, and got the artists to draw the description. However, these did not work well as different artists would interpret the descriptions in different ways, and as seen in source D, not very reliable due to the darkness.
Photography was also a recent invention at the time of the Ripper. Sadly, the police were only able to use it for the final Ripper murder of Mary Kelly. No more than black and white cameras had been invented and were usually very grainy. These were only able to photos in daylight, and as the murder of Mary Kelly also took place after dark, the camera could not be used until the following morning. This was not very efficient, for the reason that the police did not cordon off the crime, and therefore the crime scene would not be exactly how it was the previous night. The first models of the camera also took extremely long to set up.
Unlike today, the police forces were not able to get any close-up photos. This was because firstly, the camera obviously did not have a zoom and secondly if you moved the camera closer you would lose the focus and detail of the photo. They would not have taken photos from too many angles either, as each photo was incredibly expensive to develop and also took an awfully long time. If like today, the doctors were able to use DNA, they would have quite easily caught the Ripper. Police found part of an Apron, which was most probably thrown away by him, that was totally blood stained.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 6 September 2017
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