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Raleigh Police Launch Program to Deter Street Prostitution

January 29, 2003  | 

The Raleigh (N.C.) Police Department is now using photos on public access television and the Internet to shame johns and prevent men from soliciting prostitutes.

"What we're trying to do is attack the problem from different perspectives and get to the root of the problem," says Captain Dennis Lane, district commander of the Raleigh PD. "When you have street prostitution you have other related crimes such as larceny, robberies, and assault. Street prostitutes are suspects in some of these cases and at times they are the victims."

North Carolina State University professor Deborah L. Weisel, who has obtained a COPS grant, works with Raleigh Police officers, the district attorney's office, probation and parole officers, rehabilitation services, and a networks of others to not only thwart the problem, but offer services to prevent prostitutes from returning to the streets. Also, public access television and the Internet will be used to curb demand by exposing the johns.

"We intend to publicize on our police department Web page the arrest information of those who solicit the prostitutes. We also intend to display their photos, names, and arrest information on the public access government station. We feel that that won't stop all of the men, but it will stop some. Reduce demand and there'll be less business for the prostitutes.

Johns often solicit the prostitutes in vehicles registered to family or friends, according to Lane. "We may look at sending a registered letter to the vehicle's owner, if they are not in the vehicle, outlining the activities for which their vehicle was used," he says.

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