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View Full Version : What was Whitechapel's homicide rate, sans the Ripper?


Defective Detective
10-27-2010, 11:20 AM
Hello all.

It seems to me that, given the mass confusion over just how many victims the Ripper took during that Autumn of Terror, we would best be served by the process of elimination: how many murders occurred over roughly that same period of time and in the same area that are absolutely not attributable to the Ripper? In particular, do we have any idea how many prostitutes turned up murdered in the late 1880s whose killers were confirmed?

If so, that may allow us to begin by working backwards. Only by doing this can we answer the essential question: what differentiates a Ripping from a more typical Whitechapel murder?

Regards,

Ben

caz
10-27-2010, 07:30 PM
Hi DD,

Colin Roberts has recently produced some excellent work on murder statistics in the 1880s. He concentrated on numbers of adult women murdered by knife each year in England, so a fair and useful comparison could be made between the Whitechapel cases and the total number for the country as a whole. The overall numbers are actually astonishingly low as they are, without limiting the sample to prostitutes, or to Whitechapel, the East End, or even London.

His findings show that, for example, in 1887 and again in 1889 there were just 11 adult women murdered by knife in the whole of England, while in 1888 the number was 17, exactly 6 higher.

I have no idea what would have been a 'typical' or more typical Whitechapel murder. All I know is that nobody at the time appears to have considered any of the WM 'typical', and that would seem to be confirmed by Colin's figures.

Love,

Caz
X

protohistorian
10-27-2010, 08:37 PM
According to the Central Criminal Court records, the area bounded by the recovery sites had 1 killing prosecution in 1887 (Miriam Angel of Lipski fame), none in 1888, and none in 1889. Dave

Sally
10-27-2010, 09:40 PM
Hi All

Lipski indeed - a name apparently uttered by Schwartz's man following the murder of Elizabeth Stride.

Perhaps this indicates that it was still quite present in the minds of the locals - which would indicate that it did stand out as highly unusual - and memorable for that reason.

protohistorian
10-27-2010, 09:50 PM
If the CCC is to be believed it certainly stood out like a turd in a punchbowl. Dave

Defective Detective
10-27-2010, 10:18 PM
Hello caz,

His findings show that, for example, in 1887 and again in 1889 there were just 11 adult women murdered by knife in the whole of England, while in 1888 the number was 17, exactly 6 higher.

My God! Is this true? You see, all this time what I had pictured in my head was something quite a bit more violent -- I had imagined, without any external justification at all, that there were at least several dozen murders in Whitechapel a year, given how all the books refer to it with adjectives usually reserved to gang-ridden inner cities. If this is the case and the numbers of authenticated murders are this low, it seems to become infinitely more difficult to write off any of the Whitechapel murders as non-Ripper related. One of them for the year would have been enough to fill its yearly quotent, and if no murderers were operating in the region the year before, it is awfully coincidental that in 1888 there'd be that many more.

In other words: for two (or more!) killers of prostitutes to start operating in the same area at roughly the same time is plausible - provided that area is violent enough that prostitute-murdering is part and parcel of daily existence there. But for it to occur in an area where the last year saw no murders whatsoever is quite questionable. With this information I can think of no reason at all that we should not start from the assumption that every prostitute murdered in Whitechapel that year was one of Jack's unless evidence suggests otherwise.

Sally
10-27-2010, 10:38 PM
Hi All

A couple of things here for me.

I've often wondered about this - it seems highly peculiar to consider that we might be looking at at least two serial killers in the same year - I'm counting the Torso Murders as one here, and making the assumption that JTR was responsible for at least the C5.

I think even without the figures above, this looks a bit curious to me. I sort of wonder whether, for example, the C5 were just an episode in a much longer killing career - and more varied - for which one individual was responsible?

On the other hand, the sudden fad for killing women could be accounted for by a number of different hands - but only if you start considering something both complicit and organised - conspiracy in other words.

I don't know, but speculatively speaking.

protohistorian
10-27-2010, 10:43 PM
Sally here is a look at the potential for fatal pathologies using modern nomenclatures based on 1891 census data.

http://forum.casebook.org/showthread.php?t=3899

I am not sure we should view the Torsos and the M5 as distinct series based on what data we do have. Dave

Defective Detective
10-27-2010, 10:45 PM
The only named suspects who as I recall may have been involved in previous murders were Dr. Cream - impossible for reasons relating to his imprisonment here in Illinois - Ostrog - dependent upon your interpretation of 'The Paris Outrage ' - and some very vague references by R. Michael Gordon to the Torso murders and, by implication, Klosowski in his American Murders book.

If the homicide rate in Whitechapel truly were that low in all the years previous to the Ripper's appearance, I would definitely agree that it would make it much more plausible for the Torso murderer and the Ripper to have been one and the same. As I said, I can believe that there were two separate serial killers operating simultaneously in the same city burrough, but it would have to be an extremely violent burrough. As it presently stands it seems to stretch credulity more to argue they were not connected. The only analogous case I can think of in modern times with two separate killers operating in overlapping areas at roughly the same time is that of Ted Bundy and the Green River Killer, where there was some suspicion on the part of police that one may have been responsible for deaths later attributed to the other. Even then they were a few years apart, the Green River Killer being a bit later chronologically.

protohistorian
10-27-2010, 11:26 PM
Hello DD, The named suspects are the tip of the iceberg. Mostly they represent known killers in other contexts. Some have never done anything even remote like a murder. I would suggest a hard look at the wounds, the times, and the geography and base your opinion on that. Some of the named suspects are based on things like anagrams in published literature and social affiliations with fraternal groups. When in doubt (and there is much doubt here) stick with the facts. Good Luck! Dave

Defective Detective
10-27-2010, 11:39 PM
Quite true. Of the named suspects, I entertain only four as remote possibilities, though I fully admit that as I'm quite new to the field I know little about some of them. One I regard as a 'novelty' suspect, and that's Tumblety; I don't actually think there's any possibility he was the Ripper.

The other three are Kosminski, Bury, and Klosowski, in the order I consider them likely. Of these only the last two, Bury and Klosowski, are known to have killed at all. Bury's known murder was more 'Ripperesque' and in keeping with the Ripper's modus operandi, but I struggle with the notion that someone who seems to have been perpetually drunk could have done anything like the Ripper slayings. Of all the named suspects I think that Klosowski by far is the most likely, though even there I would think it's more probably than not that he had nothing to do with them. But he is the only one that would fully satisfy me if tomorrow we had some independent confirmation that he was in fact the Ripper.

protohistorian
10-28-2010, 12:01 AM
DD just do not fall into the trap of having to adopt or defend a position that your not solid on. That is why I stress evidence based opinions. Dave

lynn cates
10-28-2010, 01:34 AM
Hello DD. If you want to know about the England/London murder rate in 1888, why not look in the papers? I think you'll find about half a dozen or so murders each week. I did.

Cheers.
LC

protohistorian
10-28-2010, 02:08 AM
Hey Lynn, if you will send me the place and date I will plot these things for the class. Dave

lynn cates
10-28-2010, 02:12 AM
Hello Dave. Young man, that's an incredibly good idea! I think first, however, that a consensus must be reached regarding:

1. Location. London only or all of England?

2. Method. All murders or by knife/razor only?

3. Should self-inflicted count?

Cheers.
LC

protohistorian
10-28-2010, 02:16 AM
Well sir, I do not have maps for all of England. I can separate the weapon type as a category unto itself, so all knife kills in one folder and such. I can do the same with self inflicted. As long as I have the data, for example ( Joe Jackass, 23 whatever the hell road, gunshot, self inflicted) would be stellar for me. I know it is much work for you, however, you have a good mind and have covered the material before so it will not be so bad. Dave

lynn cates
10-28-2010, 02:20 AM
Hello Dave. I can do a little at a time (at least, until the term ends).

Shall we begin with the April 8 edition of Lloyd's?

Cheers.
LC

protohistorian
10-28-2010, 02:35 AM
Sounds good Sir, just email me the details, I will then email you the map(s). Dave

mariab
10-28-2010, 03:05 AM
Interesting project. The best of luck to the both of you with that.:thumbsup:
I seem to hazily recall that the most knife-related homicides in Victorian London occurred in West London. I'm afraid I don't recall if I read that in a thread or perhaps through statistics by Colin Roberts, but I might look it up at a later point (after having acquired some sleep first!)...

lynn cates
10-28-2010, 01:29 PM
Hello Maria. Your answer is sharp, as always. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

You will also find a good deal of murders and suicides done by razor.

Cheers.
LC

lynn cates
10-28-2010, 01:30 PM
Hello Dave. Email received. I have replied.

Cheers.
LC

mariab
10-28-2010, 03:47 PM
Hello Lynn,
Sharp, eh? You seem utterly preoccupied with razors these days.:1cheesy:
By the way, I'm pretty sure that the statistics result about West London coming up number 1 in murders during the Victorian era came from Colin Roberts. I'll try to find the thread in question later tonight, when I have some time in my hands. (And it'd be nice if someone more experienced preceded me in this, he he!)

lynn cates
10-28-2010, 04:46 PM
Hello Maria. Well, my wife wishes I had MORE of a preoccupation with razors. (heh-heh)

I shall soon have a go at Lloyd's and see about murders in London.

Cheers.
LC

mariab
10-28-2010, 05:05 PM
Hello Lynn,
I hope this just refers to shaving.:scratchchin:
Good luck with Loyds Weekly. Myself I feel strangely unmotivated for work today. I don't know if it's the antibiotics I've been taking until a couple days ago, but I feel like sleeping for a year. Or maybe because yesterday I worked non stop for 27 hours (for real, I have the emails to prove it.)...

Lechmere
09-15-2011, 11:08 PM
Violent deaths in Whitechapel...
From the famous 1893 Annual Report of Sanitary Conditions of the Whitechapel District.