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It's 3rd September 1888 what should the Police have been doing?

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  • It's 3rd September 1888 what should the Police have been doing?

    A total hypothetical here but what should the police back in 1888 have been doing just after the murder of Polly Nichols, with the resources/technology (but without our hindsight of where the next murder would be to take place) they had? Could they have caught the culprit? What errors did they make or what were the biggest opportunities they over looked?

  • #2
    At this time, newspapers coupled the murder of Nicholls with that of Tabram. This is where one should start.
    Given that Tabram's murder pattern aligns with attack on Millwood, the police should have looked into what would have already been proven as series of murders.
    Not separate, standalone incidents. This, 5 days before Chapman's murder.
    Focus on murdered prostitutes (Millwood, Smith, Tabram, Nicholls) would mean that this killer has a specific target group and therefore pre-emptive measures should have been taken.

    Vicinity of thee murders would allow police to at least "lock out" a certain area of Whitechapel, by force if necessary (Sir Charles had all the experience to employ domestic violence for political dissents, he would hardly have a difficulty in doing so for public safety).
    Viciousness of the murder should alert police that this is a very different type of perpetrator, highly deranged and one that is not bound to stop.
    Escaped criminals should be on top of suspects list. James Kelly, a convicted woman murderer with throat-stabbing, whould be #1.
    Allegedly, Munro, before being dismissed, "took an interest" in the escaped convict early on in February. Was that followed ? Were measures taken?
    Date of Tabram is the first "Anniversary" of Kelly's success to con his death sentence into "insanity confinement" with him as a free, escaped man.
    Police should apprehend all prostitutes roaming the streets after midnight. Bobbies on the beat was waste of resources and as history showed, worthless.
    A psychiatrist should construct a profile of the killer , and identify selection of dates in comparison with lunar phase pattern.

    And plain clothed policemen should seek out all street ruffians and local contacts that they had (and they did have, every police force on earth does).

    Dr Winslow had offered an idea of taunting the killer through newspaper ads. I think the police should try to lure him, but it was too late before they acknowledged him as a serial murderer of prostitutes on a mission.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Lipsky View Post
      A psychiatrist should construct a profile of the killer , and identify selection of dates in comparison with lunar phase pattern.
      George Savage was transiting into private practice from Bethlem Royal Hospital.

      He was available for especially difficult cases.

      No doubt he could offer his own special insights into the case.

      My name is Dave. You cannot reach me through Debs email account

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by DJA View Post

        George Savage was transiting into private practice from Bethlem Royal Hospital.

        He was available for especially difficult cases.

        No doubt he could offer his own special insights into the case.
        Thank you for the info, Dave.
        I wonder to what extent Dr Winslow truly pestered the police about (1) the profile of our man and (2) the newspaper ads as means of luring him.
        His 1910 claims in his book are quite persistent on the matter --- and quite bitter.
        The police probably thought this was "pseudoscience" -- amazed to see some policemen still hold such views, in 2019.

        Comment


        • #5
          They should have been interviewing prostitutes about Leather Apron's whereabouts.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hmmm,

            First, the crime scene itself was cleared too quickly. A far more thorough examination should have taken place prior to the removal of the body to the mortuary (including crime scene photography; photography was available by this time, and it's use as a way of recording and preserving evidence was woefully under valued). The crime scene should have been more better controlled with regards to access - too many onlookers ended up in the vicinity, potentially contaminating the scene (not that it would have mattered as they didn't go to any real lengths to preserve it anyway). Blocking off of the street and bringing in more lighting, and conducting a far more intensive search of the area for evidence should have been done. Fingerprinting was known, but not used in criminal investigations (except in crime fiction stories). The UK police were not behind the times, as the first use of fingerprints in solving a criminal case wasn't until 1892 in Argentina apparently. That notwithstanding, the technology was available and it's use as an individual's identification was known, so it's a shame they weren't more forward thinking. Of course, it wouldn't be much use if no prints were found, but there's no reason why they would record the presence of something they viewed as unimportant, and the cursory crime scene examination means any prints (shoe prints even) may very well have gone unnoticed.

            Second, the attitude at the time, with regards to the press, was problematic. The prevailing view was that it was best to hold back any and all information. This resulted in the press having a major story to cover but no reliable sources of information, hence they resorted to creativity and speculation, presenting any and all information regardless of how reliable or dependable the source might be. Had the press had an authoritative source in the police who was willing to engage with the press, this would have greatly reduced the need for the press to seek out anybody willing to provide them with something to write about regardless of it's reliability. It would be hard for the press to know how reliable the information was given they had no standard against which to compare it. Through collaboration with the press, the police would have been better able to get their message out to the public. That may have done nothing more than at least create a sense of trust that the police were, in fact, on the side of the unfortunates and resident population. On the other hand, it might also have helped by reducing the "noise" the general public was hearing, and so better enabled them to be on the look out for anything or anyone of suspicion. Mind you, the general public were generally very helpful as it was (the house to house search met with very little resistance and the police commented on how willing the public were to suffer their intrusion into their homes).

            Third, PC Mizen should have had a far better record of his interaction with Paul and Cross. Standard procedure should have included note taking, recording details of those with whom they spoke, and in the case of two people telling him about a potentially dead body in the street, he should have detained them and had them bring him to the scene. While this might have caused problems for Cross and Paul with regards to their work, the police should have been able to assist them in that matter as well (the "Good Sir, this man has been aiding us in a very serious matter and, through no fault of his own, we have had to delay his arrival to this, his place of work. We have accompanied him here to assure you that, but for us, his arrival would have been timely and we hope that our need of him has resulted in as little inconvenience to you as possible and will not be held against him in any way." type thing.

            There may have been reasons why the police did not record such details, however, as it may have been seen as inappropriate for the police to be recording the details of private citizens who were not themselves directly accused of a crime. Recording of personal details during the reporting of a crime might very well have been viewed as what we now call "Big Brother" type behaviour. Even if this were the case, the inability to record the details of events, as they happened, was a problem. (Mind you, we know the Graffiti was written down by at least 2 police officers, and they had different wording orders, so, maybe it would have just been more, rather than less, of a problem).

            Apart from those kinds of things, the police seem to have done a lot of leg work. There was, albeit a bit later, a call for information from the public (brochures were sent around, I think after the Stride/Eddowes murders), and a very extensive house to house search was conducted. It appears that rather than have too little information to work with, the police were already overwhelmed with information and with no computers to help organize it all, it must have been a very stressful situation.

            In all fairness, the police do seem to have done a thorough job according to the standards of the time. We have a lot of hindsight to view their choices by, and mistakes are easier to see after their consequences magnify them. We benefit from having learned from such mistakes, they were doing it all without the giant's shoulders to stand upon.

            - Jeff

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by JeffHamm View Post
              Hmmm,

              First, the crime scene itself was cleared too quickly. A far more thorough examination should have taken place prior to the removal of the body to the mortuary (including crime scene photography; photography was available by this time, and it's use as a way of recording and preserving evidence was woefully under valued). The crime scene should have been more better controlled with regards to access - too many onlookers ended up in the vicinity, potentially contaminating the scene (not that it would have mattered as they didn't go to any real lengths to preserve it anyway). Blocking off of the street and bringing in more lighting, and conducting a far more intensive search of the area for evidence should have been done. Fingerprinting was known, but not used in criminal investigations (except in crime fiction stories). The UK police were not behind the times, as the first use of fingerprints in solving a criminal case wasn't until 1892 in Argentina apparently. That notwithstanding, the technology was available and it's use as an individual's identification was known, so it's a shame they weren't more forward thinking. Of course, it wouldn't be much use if no prints were found, but there's no reason why they would record the presence of something they viewed as unimportant, and the cursory crime scene examination means any prints (shoe prints even) may very well have gone unnoticed.

              Second, the attitude at the time, with regards to the press, was problematic. The prevailing view was that it was best to hold back any and all information. This resulted in the press having a major story to cover but no reliable sources of information, hence they resorted to creativity and speculation, presenting any and all information regardless of how reliable or dependable the source might be. Had the press had an authoritative source in the police who was willing to engage with the press, this would have greatly reduced the need for the press to seek out anybody willing to provide them with something to write about regardless of it's reliability. It would be hard for the press to know how reliable the information was given they had no standard against which to compare it. Through collaboration with the press, the police would have been better able to get their message out to the public. That may have done nothing more than at least create a sense of trust that the police were, in fact, on the side of the unfortunates and resident population. On the other hand, it might also have helped by reducing the "noise" the general public was hearing, and so better enabled them to be on the look out for anything or anyone of suspicion. Mind you, the general public were generally very helpful as it was (the house to house search met with very little resistance and the police commented on how willing the public were to suffer their intrusion into their homes).

              Third, PC Mizen should have had a far better record of his interaction with Paul and Cross. Standard procedure should have included note taking, recording details of those with whom they spoke, and in the case of two people telling him about a potentially dead body in the street, he should have detained them and had them bring him to the scene. While this might have caused problems for Cross and Paul with regards to their work, the police should have been able to assist them in that matter as well (the "Good Sir, this man has been aiding us in a very serious matter and, through no fault of his own, we have had to delay his arrival to this, his place of work. We have accompanied him here to assure you that, but for us, his arrival would have been timely and we hope that our need of him has resulted in as little inconvenience to you as possible and will not be held against him in any way." type thing.

              There may have been reasons why the police did not record such details, however, as it may have been seen as inappropriate for the police to be recording the details of private citizens who were not themselves directly accused of a crime. Recording of personal details during the reporting of a crime might very well have been viewed as what we now call "Big Brother" type behaviour. Even if this were the case, the inability to record the details of events, as they happened, was a problem. (Mind you, we know the Graffiti was written down by at least 2 police officers, and they had different wording orders, so, maybe it would have just been more, rather than less, of a problem).

              Apart from those kinds of things, the police seem to have done a lot of leg work. There was, albeit a bit later, a call for information from the public (brochures were sent around, I think after the Stride/Eddowes murders), and a very extensive house to house search was conducted. It appears that rather than have too little information to work with, the police were already overwhelmed with information and with no computers to help organize it all, it must have been a very stressful situation.

              In all fairness, the police do seem to have done a thorough job according to the standards of the time. We have a lot of hindsight to view their choices by, and mistakes are easier to see after their consequences magnify them. We benefit from having learned from such mistakes, they were doing it all without the giant's shoulders to stand upon.

              - Jeff
              Great analysis. Thanks Jeff! So what do you think, would they have been able to catch him?

              Tristan
              Last edited by Losmandris; 09-04-2019, 08:27 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Lipsky View Post
                At this time, newspapers coupled the murder of Nicholls with that of Tabram. This is where one should start.
                Given that Tabram's murder pattern aligns with attack on Millwood, the police should have looked into what would have already been proven as series of murders.
                Not separate, standalone incidents. This, 5 days before Chapman's murder.
                Focus on murdered prostitutes (Millwood, Smith, Tabram, Nicholls) would mean that this killer has a specific target group and therefore pre-emptive measures should have been taken.

                Vicinity of thee murders would allow police to at least "lock out" a certain area of Whitechapel, by force if necessary (Sir Charles had all the experience to employ domestic violence for political dissents, he would hardly have a difficulty in doing so for public safety).
                Viciousness of the murder should alert police that this is a very different type of perpetrator, highly deranged and one that is not bound to stop.
                Escaped criminals should be on top of suspects list. James Kelly, a convicted woman murderer with throat-stabbing, whould be #1.
                Allegedly, Munro, before being dismissed, "took an interest" in the escaped convict early on in February. Was that followed ? Were measures taken?
                Date of Tabram is the first "Anniversary" of Kelly's success to con his death sentence into "insanity confinement" with him as a free, escaped man.
                Police should apprehend all prostitutes roaming the streets after midnight. Bobbies on the beat was waste of resources and as history showed, worthless.
                A psychiatrist should construct a profile of the killer , and identify selection of dates in comparison with lunar phase pattern.

                And plain clothed policemen should seek out all street ruffians and local contacts that they had (and they did have, every police force on earth does).

                Dr Winslow had offered an idea of taunting the killer through newspaper ads. I think the police should try to lure him, but it was too late before they acknowledged him as a serial murderer of prostitutes on a mission.
                Interesting stuff! Thanks Lipsky. I think by being a bit more joined up, open and methodical the police would have had a far getting chance of finding the culprit. Jack certainly gave them lots of opportunities and clues that were just over looked because that is just what they did back then, they simply did not know any better. Am I right in thinking that he is one of only a few serial killers (The Ted Bundy murders in Florida, comes to mind) who made no effort to hide of dispose of his victims bodies and killed in a relatively public area where the bodies would be found pretty quickly? Again I know hindsight is a wonderful thing, but just a few simple steps could have resulted in an arrest. Though It may have taken a couple more murders to have done so.

                Tristan

                Comment


                • #9
                  An early deployment of Burgho and Barnaby could have helped.

                  A scent trail leading back to a stable would have provided an important clue.



                  “When a major serial killer case is finally solved and all the paperwork completed, police are sometimes amazed at how obvious the killer was and how they were unable to see what was right before their noses.” —Robert D. Keppel and William J. Birnes, The Psychology of Serial Killer Investigations

                  William Bury, Victorian Murderer
                  http://www.williambury.org

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thoughts.

                    Profiling has never caught a murderer.

                    Use of photography was not feasible.

                    And the dogs would have been of no practical use, as stated by their owner.

                    Monty




                    Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.

                    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1445621622

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Monty View Post
                      And the dogs would have been of no practical use, as stated by their owner.
                      I thought it was unclear whether bloodhounds would have helped.

                      While not the owner, Taunton said, “Under the circumstances in which the body of Mary Jane Kelly was found, I do not think the bloodhounds would have been any use. It was then daylight and the streets were crowded with people. The only chance the hounds would have, would be in the event of a murdered body being discovered, as were the others, in the small hours of the morning, and being put on the trail before too many people were about.”

                      “When a major serial killer case is finally solved and all the paperwork completed, police are sometimes amazed at how obvious the killer was and how they were unable to see what was right before their noses.” —Robert D. Keppel and William J. Birnes, The Psychology of Serial Killer Investigations

                      William Bury, Victorian Murderer
                      http://www.williambury.org

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        They should have interviewed any street women to see if any had been harassed in recent weeks, they should have installed manned checkpoints throughout the district channeling all street traffic at night though those points, they should have instituted a curfew and opened up temporary doss houses in empty buildings to house homeless women.. temporarily, they could have installed more gaslit lamps around the area, they could have asked for military to use in patrols. It was clear that the violence in the area had escalated, and without any real leads, they should have sought to shut down or authenticate as much late night street traffic as possible.
                        Michael Richards

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Michael W Richards View Post
                          They should have interviewed any street women to see if any had been harassed in recent weeks, they should have installed manned checkpoints throughout the district channeling all street traffic at night though those points, they should have instituted a curfew and opened up temporary doss houses in empty buildings to house homeless women.. temporarily, they could have installed more gaslit lamps around the area, they could have asked for military to use in patrols. It was clear that the violence in the area had escalated, and without any real leads, they should have sought to shut down or authenticate as much late night street traffic as possible.
                          Do you realise the manpower and costs involved in implementing such an impractical plan?

                          Monty

                          Ps the lamp issue was a Board matter, not a policing one. In fact the police often pushed the board to improve lighting.




                          Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.

                          http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1445621622

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Wyatt Earp View Post

                            I thought it was unclear whether bloodhounds would have helped.

                            While not the owner, Taunton said, “Under the circumstances in which the body of Mary Jane Kelly was found, I do not think the bloodhounds would have been any use. It was then daylight and the streets were crowded with people. The only chance the hounds would have, would be in the event of a murdered body being discovered, as were the others, in the small hours of the morning, and being put on the trail before too many people were about.”
                            The bloodhounds would be more useful if the killer took something from the deceased, or left a blood trail. Neither were present in Pollys murder.
                            Michael Richards

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Monty View Post

                              Do you realise the manpower and costs involved in implementing such an impractical plan?

                              Monty

                              Ps the lamp issue was a Board matter, not a policing one. In fact the police often pushed the board to improve lighting.
                              Didn't they just about break the bank assigning men to that district anyway Monty? Signage and 2 officers manning each checkpoint. Not a major cost considering all the costs they were already authorizing...what was the cost of drafting all those extra men? Impractical is not an accurate reflection of the idea itself either. Warranted might be.

                              There were empty buildings all over the area...opening some with costs handled by charitable groups wouldn't be impossible at all. The churches would likely help feed them. Again, I said temporary. What do you do when the are you are responsible for the people of an area when catastrophic weather arrives...open the churches, open public venues, and let the homeless people come in from the rain. Well, it was raining hard that Fall...figuratively.
                              Last edited by Michael W Richards; 09-04-2019, 07:52 PM.
                              Michael Richards

                              Comment

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