Reasons Why the Police were Unable to Catch Jack the RipperCatching a serial killer today is no easy job, but more than 100 yearsago it was an even more difficult job. The police then had to face noforensics, little structure within the forces, people unwilling tohelp, and yet they were still expected to find the ripper.
In 1888 there were no forensics, no DNA tests and no fingerprinting.The area in which the murders occurred was an especially abysmal placewhere people often walked round covered in blood due to the slaughterhouses. The technology of the time wouldn’t have been able todistinguish between human and animal blood. The lack of forensic testswould also make it difficult to prove conclusively if two or morecrimes had been committed by the same person. These limits were partlybecause of the bungling police work.
Normally the police did not investigate cases like this under as muchpressure. They only investigated this case because the rich had becomeconcerned over the plight of the poor, as did the press. The policedid not always record evidence as well as they could have done. Incomparison with today’s standard procedure, few police reports werewritten relevant to the case, and insufficient attention was paid toforensic details and interviews. What could have been a crucial pieceof evidence (writing near a crime scene next to a piece of bloodiedapron belonging to a victim) was removed before it could bephotographed; and it wasn’t uncommon for other evidence tomysteriously disappear. The writing on the wall case though was one ofthe greatest blunders; without the sole handwriting sample policecould…
…killer. In the Ripper inquiry, sufficient record keeping,and information management/co-ordination was practically absent; andin the Green River Killer case it was too late in coming. In bothinvestigations, the relationship between the law enforcement agenciesand their relationship with the public was not idyllic. In bothinvestigations, police also did not have the right knowledge andresources to accurately measure the situation, grasp its significantfactors, and immediately collect an appropriate reaction. Even if theJack the Ripper, and Green River Killer investigations had possessedthe needed means, their investigations could not have lasted theabsence of key people, poor public relations, interagency conflict,bad judgments, missed opportunities, or the exclusion of women fromhighly dangerous police work.