8. The Ripper investigation became part of a larger investigation headed by Scotland Yard
The Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard) conducted an investigation into several murders in Whitechapel and Spitalfields from 1888 to 1891. Eleven separate murders were part of the overall investigation. The five canonical murders were assessed as the work of a single individual, identified in the press as Jack the Ripper, while the other six were believed to have been the work of others. One reason the investigation identified the five as the victims of Jack the Ripper was their proximity to each other. Another was that all took place during or near a weekend or holiday. That led police to believe the murderer was employed in and resided in or near the Whitechapel area. Expertise and knowledge of Whitechapel, including its streets and denizens, became essential to the investigation.
Inspector First Class Frederick Abberline possessed both those qualities, having served in Whitechapel before promotion and transfer to Scotland Yard’s Central Office. Following the murder of Mary Ann Nichols, Abberline transferred back to Whitechapel temporarily to aid in the investigation. He became the de facto officer in charge at the ground level. Abberline coordinated the information obtained by the investigators and helped facilitate communications between the two police forces involved. While the street-level policemen of each force usually cooperated freely with each other, their more politically oriented supervisors did not. The five murders took place in a span of a few weeks, each more grisly than its predecessor. Abberline resisted the pressure to make an arrest, concerned with the evidence, rather than public opinion. Today, some Ripperologists believe Abberline made no arrests because he was in fact Jack the Ripper.