Investigating Why the Police Were Unable to Catch Jack the Ripper

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Investigating Why the Police Were Unable to Catch Jack the Ripper

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I believe the most important reason why Jack the Ripper was so hard tocatch was because of the lack of evidence. In those days they did nothave as advanced technology as we have today for instance, we haveforensics where we can tell from a strand of hair who that hairbelongs to. In those days they were only just learning thesignificance of footprints to catching a villain. Another part to thisis that Jack the Ripper was so random towards who he killed the policecould not find a link between the murders except that they were allprostitutes, which did not really help, although prostitute murderswere not terribly uncommon.

The press coverage to the case didn’t help much as they had forced thepolice to investigate ‘Leather Apron’ and this wasted a significantamount of the police time which, if spent properly, may have allowedthem to uncover more information needed to catch the Ripper.Furthermore, the public reaction was very unhelpful, as the people inWhitechapel did not like the police for many reasons. The police hadbrought a bad reputation to their name with acts of violence. Due tothis history behind the police, the locals decided not to help thepolice as much as they could have in their investigations.

The lack of policemen did not help either. They had a very smallforce. In 1878 the old department was abolished and the CID wascreated which helped considerably. (The table below shows thestatistics for the police force)



Number of detectives



Number of arrests



The police did not offer a reward for catching the Ripper because itwould have attracted too much attention. They believed this wouldcreate several false leads and would waste police time. The ‘fromhell’ letter was a example of a possible false lead. It was very


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