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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Scene of the Crimes

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  #1  
Old 10-27-2010, 11:20 AM
Defective Detective Defective Detective is offline
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Default What was Whitechapel's homicide rate, sans the Ripper?

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
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Old 10-27-2010, 07:30 PM
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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
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Last edited by caz : 10-27-2010 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 10-27-2010, 08:37 PM
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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
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Old 10-27-2010, 09:40 PM
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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.
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Old 10-27-2010, 09:50 PM
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If the CCC is to be believed it certainly stood out like a turd in a punchbowl. Dave
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:18 PM
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Hello caz,

Quote:
Originally Posted by caz View Post
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.

Last edited by Defective Detective : 10-27-2010 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:38 PM
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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.
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:43 PM
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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
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:45 PM
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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.

Last edited by Defective Detective : 10-27-2010 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 10-27-2010, 11:26 PM
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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
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