Peoria, IL

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Shaming
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Letters
Cameras
Web stings
License suspension

Peoria is a city of about 114,000 residents in central Illinois, west of Bloomington along Interstate 74.  Law enforcement and public health officials estimate that there are about 140 prostituted women in Peoria, with an average age of about twenty-three. Numerous problems are associated with the local commercial sex market, including the forced prostitution of minors.

Women engaged in prostitution have also been targeted in the city by at least one serial murderer.  From 2001 to 2005, 10 sex sellers in Peoria were found murdered or were missing.  Prosecutors attributed eight of the murders to one serial killer, Larry D. Bright.  Investigators questioned prostituted women and found strikingly similar stories of Bright as a “date” or customer who lured prostitutes to his home with promises of cocaine, then turned abruptly violent, sometimes pulling a knife on them before raping them.

In response to problems such as these and to community complaints about prostitution, police began conducting reverse stings in 1980.  The Peoria Police Department continues to conduct occasional reverse stings and, since 2005, to publicize the identities of the men arrested.  On the police department website, the photos and identities of arrested sex buyers are posted, along with those for people arrested for pandering and prostitution.  The following rationale for the website is provided by the police department:

“By using this website, you will be able to view public records on individuals who have been arrested for those offenses. This site has been created to help the citizens of Peoria by deterring prostitution activity in their neighborhoods. The website is in response to complaints from citizens and business owners regarding acts of prostitution occurring every hour of the day and night.  The following individuals were arrested for pandering, prostitution or soliciting a sexual act. It is hoped that the photos of the arrested individuals will serve as a deterrent to others. “

There is also a message: ” The following individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”  

An article in May 2014 stated that web page showing arrestee identities has operated from 2005 to the present.

Key Partners

  • Peoria Police Department

Key Sources

State Illinois
Type City
Population 113546
Location
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