There are three key things that contributed to the fact that Jack the Ripper wasn’t caught. These are the lack of technology, the mistakes the police made and in my opinion, the most important, the difficulties of the case.
Even with all the technology we have today, I think this case would have always been a difficult one but something that made it even more difficult was the many false starts and red herrings. This slowed the investigation down heavily and could have possibly been why the police failed to catch him. These difficulties hindered the police investigation by drawing attention away from the real killer. A good example of this would be “Leather Apron”. He was thought to be the killer because he had a reputation for beating prostitutes and when he was arrested, “It seemed as though the case was solved”. This let the police forget about the killing and dismiss it as case solved however when another murder was committed with the same “Modus Operandum” police were forced to follow other leads. This took time away from the investigation and possibly contributed to the police not catching Jack the Ripper.
Racial Scapegoats were also something that slowed the investigation down. Police had to follow up accusations made by the public so they weren’t seen to be ignoring the public. “This red herring cost the police valuable time and money”. Many people of the public said they had seen a “man” talking to the Ripper victims however many public gave unreliable or different descriptions to the police meaning the police couldn’t draw up reliable impression of Jack the Ripper. This lack of reliable information slowed the investigation down and cost the police even more time which may have lead to the failure in catching Jack the Ripper, however the public weren’t the only ones creating unreliable evidence, the press could also be held responsible for this.
As the press were thought to be helping the investigation by most of the public, looking back many people believe that the press put a lot of pressure on the police and did the opposite than “help” the investigation for example, the press would often say how the killer was a Jew, and would publish graphical descriptions of the “believed” killer, if the police didn’t follow these leads they were blamed by the press for not investigating the case properly, which would then be believed by the public. This slowed the investigation down because police had to follow every lead that was created by the press.
Another interesting point that could possibly be a strong reason for the failure in catching Jack the Ripper is the lack of technology in the 19th Century. At this time there were many limitations in policing and are nothing like today’s police. This case was already hard as the killer had no known connections with the victims. Police had no access to CCTV, fingerprints and DNA were not used in these times and information would often be lost as there was no databases but technology wasn’t the polices only downfall, when Eddowes was killed in the square mile of the city there were two police forces involved in the case which caused competition, in the eye of the public these two forces worked “well” together however it is believed by many that there is conflict between senior officers of the two forces. All this competition put pressure on the police and possibly caused them to make many mistakes when trying to solve the case leading to Jack the Rippers freedom.
The police were said to make many errors during the case and were criticised largely by the public, for example Inspector Chandler estimated Annie Chapman’s death to be around 5:30 am but when an experience police surgeon named Dr Philips told him he may be wrong he was ignored. Another example is the destroying of vital evidence, when the believed killer left a message on the wall police rubbed it off before taking any photos as they didn’t want to frighten the public. But even after all these errors the police tried there best and they weren’t helped as they offered no reward for any information; Henry Matthews, the home secretary, offered no reward to the public as he believed it would cause a mass of people giving unreliable information. I think that this would make the public have no desire to give in information leading to a possible failure in catching Jack the Ripper.
After looking at all these points I think there as many reasons that the police never caught Jack the Ripper, firstly I think the lack of technology meant that police didn’t have access to valuable data like DNA and CCTV. Secondly I think that the false starts and red herrings of the case slowed it down meaning that the police lost a lot of time on the case. The way the police handled the case also didn’t help , the many mistakes they made could have possibly been why they never caught him. But in my opinion the most important was the many difficulties of the case, the unreliable witness statements, the pressure from the press and the fact that Jack the Ripper didn’t know his/her victims.