Cataloguing crimes: Editorial Assistant Izzy Jessop on the Criminology Matrix
“Once Murder Maps had been given the green light, the task fell to me to begin researching a list of the murders we were going to include. The period we had chosen – 1811 to 1911 – was late enough and broad enough that there was plenty of information available online, and the murders could be committed by anyone, from anywhere, around the world. Surely finding a hundred murders from this notoriously bloody century wouldn’t be that hard?
Finding any hundred killers, probably not, but in fact we had a set of very specific criteria that made finding our murderers quite a bit more difficult. First, there needed to be some visual material available, whether crime scene photography or newspaper illustration, second we needed to know some information about the location of the crime so that the mapping element could work, and thirdly it needed to be an interesting story, ideally featuring some innovative policework for author Drew Gray to write about. There were a frustrating number of cases that fit one or two of these criteria beautifully, but were missing a crucial element, whether it was a fantastic and bloodthirsty story featured extensively in the press but that no-one ever bothered illustrate, or a wonderfully evocative and historically important crime scene photo whose location had been lost in the mists of time.”