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El Universal (Mexico)
31 October 1890

Translation

IN SEARCH OF JACK THE RIPPER

THE DISTRICT OF WHITECHAPEL

WHAT THE EDITOR OF THE PALL MALL GAZETTE SAYS

It having been announced by the English newspapers that the London police have redoubled their precautions in the Whitechapel district, the Pall Mall Gazette sent one of its editors to examine the place where there took place the series of crimes which terrified all Europe without success in capturing the killer.

The English newspaperman made his way to the place where the first crime was committed, namely, opposite the guest house in George Yard where appeared the horrible mutilated body of Martha Tabram. It is true that after the crime the police ordered a lamp to be placed on that dark corner and that such an order has since been obeyed; but the proprietor of the inn has stated that he cannot commit himself to keeping the lamp lit all night and that they put it out at twelve o'clock. So, Martha Tabram was murdered between two and three in the morning.

That place has resumed its usual character and rarely is it that policemen pass here on their rounds.

The second crime, the murder of the Hyde woman, happened at the foot of the lengthy wall in Buck's Row, a place which is still as solitary now as it was then and in which the same wall is still as forbidding and badly lit.

Buck's Row has always had the reputation of being a dangerous place very favourable to thieves and killers and in whose neighborhood it is not wise to venture after midnight. Slowly Buck's Row has turned into a nocturnal sanctuary for homeless vagabonds, but since the exploits of Jack the Ripper began these guests have left this place. On its pavements since then the only sound that resounds is the measured tread of the patrols which have ended up forsaking those dark places. It is certain that if Jack the Ripper had the whim to return to his bloody task it would be no obstacle to him to know that a police post has been sited near there and with complete peace of mind he could do whatever he wanted. The newspaperman from the Pall Mall Gazette had the proof of this. I have here what he says:

"I found myself at one in the morning in the area of Buck's Row when my attention was attracted by a woman's cry. I ran towards Buck's Row in the direction from which the voice had come, and at about twenty metres from where the Hyde woman was murdered I found a woman stretched out, obviously drunk and with a wound on her temple that was bleeding, a wound probably caused when she fell. The woman was crying out, seized with a nervous attack. Four or five minutes passed before a policeman approached to see what was happening; he wanted to carry away the drunken woman but she resisted and began to hit the policeman. It was obvious that one man alone could not carry her; I then took out a whistle which I had acquired, I signalled but still there passed three minutes before another policeman arrived.

It is true that this was only a case of carrying away a drunken woman, but if Jack the Ripper had committed a new crime, he would have had more than enough time to escape in the eight minutes which had passed.

In Mitre Square, in which Jack perpetrated the most fearful of his murders, more effective measures have been taken to lessen the likelihood of his making another attempt; the patrols are much more numerous and the lighting of the square has been improved but such changes are due to the City police, not the Metropolitan.

It will be remembered that on the Sunday morning when the murder was discovered in Mitre square, there was found a little distance away, in the area of Berner Street, the body of another woman with her throat cut. There was nothing here to prevent jack the Ripper murdering undisturbed amidst deep darkness, since no one bothers to see what is happening in that place and the songs and laughter which come out from the International Club, situated nearby, would cover without any doubt the cries of the victim.

The same can be said of the house in Hambury (sic) Street, in whose yard a woman was found ripped up, since the yard is entered into and exited from through a narrow passage which is as freely open at midnight as is full daylight. Such carelessness is easy to explain: the inhabitants of these houses change from day to day and there is no watchman to ask those who enter if they have the right to be there.

In a word, and despite the claims of the hygiene commissions and the protestations of the philanthropists, most of the locations made famous by the legendary Jack the Ripper are the same as they were before.

The true reason for such a state of affairs is not to be found, in the opinion of the English newspaperman we have mentioned, in any lack of care or indifference on the part of the authorities, but in the fact that the class made up of the dispossessed and the outcasts which makes up the population of Whitechapel and St. George's, is so numerous. Those outcasts have no refuge except Whitechapel and they are people incapable of work, ignorant, savages born in vice in which they are steeped, who only live by fraud and robbery, and for whom the doors of even the houses of worst repute will not be opened, for they are lower even than the worst of clients. Whitechapel is their domain, through whose streets they wander the night in search of a good strike that will give them the means to eat. They know all the alleyways and byways of the district and they know at what times the police rounds are made and when they can work without any risk.

Perhaps it will happen that Jack the Ripper is captured but this will not cleanse Whitechapel where the true killer is misery.