Prostitutes vs. the Vice Squad

Two related questions:

First, how much effort does an average city vice squad put into trying to stamp out prostitution? In theory it’s ridiculously easy to make arrests for prostitution: send plainsclothes officers out to offer money to women, and arrest them if they accept. (Is that right? Or is it entrapment if the women don’t “solicit” first?). If the prostitutes’ customers can find them, so can the police. If an real effort was made, thousands of prostitutes in a big city could be rounded up in a few days. My impression then is that little real effort is made beyond an occasional “sweep”, just to keep their visibility to a slightly sub-scandalous level.

Second, how easy or difficult is it actually for police to make prostitution arrests, or for prostitutes to avoid being arrested? Do they simply accept that it’s a numbers game, that sooner or later they’ll be busted in a sting, and that’s the cost of doing business? Or are there semi-successful tactics prostitutes use to avoid undercover cops?

Did anybody besides me see the Thread Title, and immediately think of a 70’s era cop flick, with cops & hookers shooting it out?

Would anybody want to make a video game out of my idea?

Make it

Zombie Prostitutes vs. the Vice Squad

and you’ve got a hit on your hands.

Can’t help you with factual reasons police can’t arrest them all. I know it has to do with logistics and manpower. Too much effort and expense, not enough return.

But I do know the police can’t solicit sex from a woman (or man) and then arrest them when they accept. That’s entrapment. What they can do is arrest the prostitute when he or she offers sex in return for money.

Illegal:

Police: “How you doin? I got money; wanna do sinful, immoral and dirty things to each other?”

or

Prostitute: “Hey, sugar, want a date?”
Police: “How much?”

Legal:

Prostitue: “You a cop?”
Police: “No”
Prostitue: “Want a date?”
Police: “Sure”
Prostitute names price and gets arrested.

From Night Court:

Dan: It’s an old story, your honor. Boy meets girl. Girl ask for C-note. Boy shows badge. Girl offers discount. Boy arrests girl.

In the good old days here in Washington, DC (I think it was summer of 1988), a bunch of police rounded up some hookers and force marched them across the bridge into VA. About the time they got to VA somebody had alerted the press which caused the police involved to flee, but the Post still had time to get some great photos of ticked off hookers rubbing their sore feet and getting into taxis to head back to work.

I never did get the idea of entrapment when the pressure it so little. It does seem, however, that police have more pressing matters. In DC it comes up only when a neighborhood group complains. They then try to move the business vs lots of arrests. I recall 14th Street in DC having so many cars driving back and forth looking for “vendors” that the District would park giant fire trucks to block off the road during certain night hours.

Not necessarily. It’s not entrapment if the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime prior to talking with the police. Then it’s just offering an opportunity to commit a crime to one ready and willing to commit it. If a prostitute is standing on a street corner with the express purpose of prostituting herself and a police officer initiates conversation along by offering her sex for money, that’s not entrapment. If the same polce officer randomly does it to Jane Q. Citizen waiting on a bus and she thinks to herself “wow, I’ve never even considered it before, but he’s kind of cute and I could use some cash,” then that would probably be entrapment.

I remember that! My brother was on his way to work when he saw the great hooker parade. He tried to describe it, but he was laughing too hard.

They marched them across the Rosslyn bridge into Virginia after the last subway train had run. State of Virginia was pissed, but the cabbies were happy for the business.