Police hopes new strategy ends prostitution in south St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - St. Louis police are trying a new tactic to combat prostitution in south St. Louis.  This time, instead of arresting the prostitutes, they’re targeting the patrons.

According to District 1 Commander Dan Howard, female South City residents complained recently that they were propositioned by men, who thought they were prostitutes.  It’s been a particular problem on South Broadway between Bates and Loughborough.

Prostitution has been an issue in the area for decades, and it usually seems to get worse when the weather gets warmer.

So this year, police are trying to get ahead of the uptick in prostitution, by targeting the prostitutes’ customers through a specialized detail which includes undercover officers.

After these patrons are arrested and charged, their mug shots will be made readily available to the media.  Then they’ll receive a reminder card, which tells them when and where they were caught, and cautions them about STD’s.  The card also warns them that their lewd behavior is illegal, and gives them a court date.

These patrons then face a $500 fine, and/or prison time.

St. Louis Police Captain Dan Howard explains, “What we really want people to do is think twice and maybe think, hey, I remember when I saw a mug shot, or heard about a guy getting a postcard, and maybe they won’t come around and do it at all.  That’d be my goal.  And our success in this will be measured by my citizens, when they tell me, I walked the park, or walked around the block, and imagine that, nobody confronted me.”

According to Howard, the police department’s recent redistricting has made this new operation possible.  The reduction from nine districts to six has provided District 1 with the manpower this operation requires.

Howard expects some arrests to start coming in early next week.

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