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Dark side to England vs Netherlands location – 'murder city' to red light district


The city hosting England’s tantalising Euro 2024 semi-final against Netherlands has a chilling dark side which saw it once dubbed “murder city”.

Thousands of Three Lions fans are descending on Dortmund to cheer on Gareth Southgate’s side at the Signal Iduna Park today (July 10). But just over three miles away, just north of the city’s main train station, sits the Innenstadt-Nord or Nordstadt, an area fans may wish to avoid.

The district’s Keuning Park is said to be illuminated by just a smattering of street lamps, and home to drug dealers who unashamedly approach people walking by, German newspaper Bild report. It was once prowled by the Nordstadt Ripper, who is said to have stabbed three people.

It prompted one local police officer to describe the area as “murder city” with patrols having to be ramped up in a bid to find the attacker. At the time, they said: “In reality, there is hardly any chance of catching him like that. It is getting worse and worse. The northern part of the city is a murder city, they say internally…”

Bild reported the level of crime in Nordstadt was such that the brazen dealer continued to operate even as police officers drove on by. A mother said to Bild: “It’s really scary, but what can you do? You can’t just stay at home.”

A British YouTuber also filmed himself visiting Dortmund with locals telling him he should “never step foot” in Nordstadt. TikTok star ‘yourtruebrit’ said that people on Reddit and in the centre of Dortmund told him “not to visit this area”.

He said: “Me being me I want to find out more about why [not to visit the area]. The statistics of this part of Germany is that 81 percent of people feel more unsafe at night here than London so that’s saying something because London can be very, very dangerous.”

Dortmund’s “red-light street”, Linienstrasse, also sits in Nordstadt. It has been home to a number of brothels since the early 20th century.

The 200m-long street is the only one in central Dortmund where prostitution is legal. Visitors of Linienstrasse are met with a private scree and a sign saying the zone is for over 18s only.

Sex workers can regularly be seen advertising services using window displays as punters haggle prices before entering establishments. According to German newspaper Ruhr News, the street has become a hotspot for police activity, with over 300 crimes recorded from February 2023 to December 2023.

Only three months ago they launched a manhunt for a suspect they say strangled a sex worker. Authorities say they drive up-and-down Linienstrasse regularly.

Latest in-depth figures, from February 2022 shows they were called to a variety of incidents, including 83 “rioters” and 31 “payment disputes”. There were a further 31 “disputes”, while 18 people were attacked and 10 people were victims of “dangerous bodily harm”.

“These operations do not always trigger an investigation,” police spokesman Peter Bandermann told Ruhr News. “Among other things, because a dispute has been resolved or someone has calmed down or because civil law and not criminal law is involved.”

Sex work in Linienstrasse has been present for over 100 years, with street prostitutes moving into the area first. In 1918, the Dortmund Midnight Mission was formed to administer the needs of prostitutes.

The road has however had to weather a storm in recent years with coronavirus, increasing prices, and the cost of living takes its toll. One model, who wished only to be known as Lilli, told Ruhr that the mood has “changed somewhat. People are cutting back on fun first.”

Another woman, named only as Caro, revealed how life had changed on the street. She said: “It’s become much more perverse, many people look at something on the Internet. Then they come to us and say, ‘I saw that and I want to try it out.'”

The women of Linienstrasse say they receive a wide variety of clients, from football players and doctors to lawyers. One of the brothels sold in 2010 for €1.1 million – around £930,000.

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