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Prostitution, Police, and City Culture in a Small Midwestern City: A History, 1900-1960

NCJ Number
Journal of Crime and Justice Volume: 13 Issue: 2 Dated: (1990) Pages: 149-173
F Morn
Date Published
24 pages
The article addresses the forces that led to the closing of the red light district of Bloomington, Illinois in 1953, with particular emphasis on the changing political and economic trends.
The red light district in Bloomington, Illinois, called the Line, was officially closed in 1953. However, it did not end or stop prostitution in the city; it merely shifted marketing strategies. The article begins by tracing the history of the Line from 1900, shortly after the city was incorporated, to 1960. The effect of World War II on the city and on the Line area are presented as well as a comparison of conditions on the Line during and after World War II. The reasons for "erasing the Line" are examined in detail, from the involvement of the chief of police to civic involvement and city council rulings. Related police corruption is analyzed in relation to the Line and the overall crime atmosphere in the city. The article concludes by linking the forces in the small city of Bloomington to the forces found in a large city regarding prostitution, police corruption, and the tenacity of red light districts. 58 footnotes (Author abstract modified)