One of the things that people often comment on when we introduce them to the area where the Jack the Ripper murders occurred is just how close together the killings were.
Indeed, when you set out to walk the streets of Whitechapel and Spitalfields on our Jack the Ripper Tour it really does seem incredible that the police couldn’t catch the killer in such a geographically small area.
Yet, in fairness to the Victorian Police, the area has changed a great deal since 1888, when the Jack the Ripper Murders took place.
In those days the district was made up of numerous unlit, dark and narrow passageways that presented him the perfect escape routes via which he could evade the police.
Another reason he was able to commit the murders and then, seemingly, melt away unseen into the night was that the sites where he committed his murders were perfectly suited to his purpose.
And, in this regard, it was his victims who chose the spots where the murders were committed. Strange as it might seem to claim that Jack the Ripper’s victims chose their own murder sites, it is perfectly true. They were, after all, common street prostitutes all but one of whom (Mary Kelly) didn’t have rooms to take their clients to. Instead they serviced their clients in dark courtyards and alleyways. And, because they had a great deal of experience and knowledge about the area they knew the best places to take clients to where they wouldn’t be interrupted by a police officer on his beat.
So the Ripper was very much an opportunist killer who met his victims, allowed them to lead him to the perfect location for a murder, and was then able to make use of the dark thoroughfares and narrow passages to make good his escape.
Either by luck, or careful planning, he chose the ideal victims and the perfect area in which to carry out his murderous reign of terror.