Notes on Street Prostitution in Midtown
Just beneath the surface of the nuisance activity presented by street prostitutes lie much more serious problems for the afflicted community.
Specific issues lingering:
Street prostitution brings a host of problems into the neighborhood extending well beyond the nuisance and blight of street prostitution itself. Street prostitutes are invariably involved with drugs, and are instrumental in driving other forms of criminal activity in the neighborhood.
Inside the MPSA service area, a band of transvestite prostitutes comes into the neighborhood on a nightly basis and blatantly engages in a wide range of criminal and nuisance activity. This includes considerable drug activity and draws considerable cruising traffic at certain times.
Every once in a while street prostitutes crop up at Ponce & Boulevard, though we have made considerable progress over the years in that area. Those variants, both male and female, are still around in small numbers, but are not nearly as visible as ten years ago.
Outside but near the MPSA service area, male hustlers still loiter around the Cypress Street area.
How street prostitution drives drug activity:
Drug activity routinely appears in one of two scenarios. Most commonly, a prostitute will buy drugs immediately after turning a trick. The prostitute is dropped back off by the john, and then the drug dealer comes along and takes the prostitute for a spin around the block. This keeps drug pushers cruising around the area.
In the other scenario buyers come looking for prostitutes to buy drugs. The prostitute works as a middleman between the dealer and the end buyer. It works something like this: the buyer takes the prostitute for a ride (may or may not involve sex for hire) to give money, drops off the prostitute who then calls a drug dealer to go for a ride, and then returns to the area with the drugs and waits to be picked up by the buyer. The prostitute makes a kickback in the process.
Much of the cruising traffic seen during certain hours is actually drug traffic driven by street prostitutes. Johns normally do not cruise around very long – they make a pickup and then are gone again. The ones driving around for extended periods – more than about 20 minutes – are likely involved with drugs.
Other aspects of street prostitution
Street prostitutes, particularly the transvestite prostitutes, come into the neighborhood on a nightly basis and aggressively assert territory. Particularly the transvestite prostitutes exhibit many traits of gang activity. Residents have been harassed and assaulted by these criminals. Prostitutes are territorial not only toward residents and business owners, but also among themselves, as reflected by occasional quarrels and fights.
Occasionally weapon stashes are found in areas afflicted by street prostitution. In one instance last year, one of the transvestite prostitutes hurled a machete into someone’s yard when they saw police coming along (it was recovered and is now in MPSA custody). Prostitutes often carry knives and blades, and will stash them in shrubbery.
John-rolling occurs with some regularity. The johns are vulnerable, and have little recourse when being victimized by a prostitute. Most of this is not reported to police unless absolutely necessary (like a carjacking). When it is reported, then it is usually reported with different circumstances and locations than it actually occurred. A john who is carjacked runs the risk of being denied insurance coverage because it occurred as they were engaging in criminal activity themselves. This phenomenon certainly brings other criminal elements into the picture.
And last but not least, prostitutes blight any community afflicted by their presence. Residents do not particularly enjoy watching strangers having sex in cars in front of their homes. The lawlessness of their pursuits contributes greatly to a chaotic atmosphere attracting additional crime in the neighborhood.
In short, street prostitution is much more than a broken window that invites more crime into the neighborhood…
Gallery: Street Prostitution in Midtown
RELATED POSTS AND RESOURCES:
- Call to Action: SOAP Legislation
- About the proposed SOAP Ordinance
- SOAP Legislation paper from City Council