What Would You Have Done?

DATED: 23.03.15

The Jack the Ripper saga engulfed all of England in fear back in the late 1880s. The dread that reverberated through communities in Whitechapel has now transformed into fascination and intrigue around the world in the form of Jack the Ripper tours. Thousands of tourists from every corner of the world visit London to experience the Ripper tour in order to get a glimpse of what life was like in Whitechapel in the late 19th century. Perhaps the most interesting part of the Ripper’s story though is that more than a century has passed, and the case remains unsolved.

Today, we will ask our readers and viewers an interesting question. Knowing what little we have unearthed about the Ripper’s true identity, what would you have done differently? How would you have pursued the Ripper case? What steps would you have taken to see the Ripper case solved? We will offer some of our own suggestions in this post so you can see if you agree with our strategy.

Increased Patrols at Night

In fairness, law enforcement authorities did take this step when the Ripper murders started becoming more frequent. More constables and policemen on the ground meant the Ripper had to be extra cautious in order to commit his next crime. The added pressure would have certainly led to him making a mistake, even a small one at some point in time. To their credit, that did happen.

At the site of the double murders of Catherine Eddowes and Elizabeth Stride, police discovered some evidence left behind by the Ripper by accident. They also concluded that the Ripper had fled the scene mid-crime in order to avoid detection. They nearly had him. Increased police presence did make an impact, but it was not enough to catch the culprit. Adding more constables on the ground and placing them to guard the right streets would have made the prospect of the Ripper striking again very unlikely. However, it would have also been a big financial expenditure for the city.

Improved Crime Scene Investigation Techniques

There were quite a few blunders committed during the investigations. As an example, the infamous graffiti about Jews was not handled properly. The Ripper letters that eventually turned out to be bogus were also mishandled. Crime scene investigation is a proper science. A different team that was more conscious about collecting evidence could have made all the difference. Handwriting samples could have been matched, and the blood stain on the handkerchief could have been analysed better to come up with some possible suspects in the same blood group.

Sending In an Undercover Agent

Sometimes the only way to solve a crime is to lure the culprit out into the open. Sending in an undercover agent is no doubt a difficult and dangerous venture, but it is not unheard of. The Ripper specifically hunted prostitutes. Sending in an undercover law enforcement official under the disguise of a prostitute would have been helpful in catching the Ripper. There is no denying the risks involved in this approach but with proper training and a solid backup close by, it could have certainly led to a conviction.

Who the real Ripper is, we will never know. However, if any of the steps mentioned above were taken, things could have been much different today.


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Tour Duration

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The Jack the Ripper Casebook