New book claims London was once serial killer capital of the world
Published Wednesday, March 12, 2014 6:32PM EDT
It's not something most people associate with London, but Dr. Mike Arntfield - a criminologist and Western University professor - says the Forest City was once the serial killer capital of the world.
The claim is made in his upcoming book "Murder City," which takes a look at London's criminal past.
"We know 18 of the crimes are unsolved, so most of the perpetrators are still out there, so there is cause for concern" says Arntfield.
Included in those unsolved murders, Donna Awcock who was killed in 1983 and Jackie Dunleavy who was found strangled in 1968.
These are just two of the cases believed to the work of up to five serial killers in London between 1960 and 1985.
"If London, by way of comparison during that same period, has the population of New York City or Los Angeles - both cities that had three or four operating at the same time. London would have had proportionately around 80 serial killers walking the streets at any given time," says Arntfield.
Three of the killers - responsible for 13 out of 32 murders during that period - have been caught.
"Gerald Thomas Archer, the London Chamber Maid Slayer, Christian McGee the Mad Slasher, and Russell Johnson, the most infamous one, also known as the Balcony Killer," says Arntfield.
Retired police officer Don Andrews worked on the Johnson case, as well as others.
"Never thought there was too much connection at the time," says Andrews.
But now, new evidence may suggest otherwise.
"I heard the other day that one of the girls found on Fanshawe Rd. had something stuffed in her mouth. Jackie Dunleavy did too, the OPP never told us anything," says Andrews.
Arntfield's goal is to dig deeper, he also looks at why killers may have been attracted to London back then.
"The highways make it accessible for nomadic killers. King 400 series highways, 402 in particular, that circumscribe London, that place London at the epicentre of the new network that opened in 1952," he says.
He also attributes the murders to the city's lack of what he calls "informal controls."
"The way the community and neighbours conduct natural surveillance, look out for each other, with intervening and generally controlling delinquent behaviours," says Arntfield.
Arntfield says the city has changed, but for the sake of the victims and their families, he will keep searching for answers.