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Arrests in Prostitution Sting at Hillcroft and Gulfton

February 18, 2005 -- On Thursday, February 17, 2005 the Houston Police Department's Vice Division, with assistance from the Westside Patrol and Criminal Intelligence Divisions, conducted a prostitution sting operation at Hillcroft and Gulfton that resulted in the arrests of 28 suspects. A total of 23 men were arrested and charged with soliciting undercover female officers for prostitution. Five female prostitutes were arrested, including two that had left their escort service business card in the hotel where the command post was operating. The offense is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a $2,000.00 fine or both.

The reverse sting was in response to citizen complaints that the high volume of prostitution is deteriorating their neighborhood and causing tenants to move from the high-rise office buildings in the area. Restaurants and small businesses in the area have complained that customers are driven away by the numerous prostitutes working in their parking lots, and some citizens have said they are afraid to get out of their cars.

The public often perceives that only the prostitute commits the criminal violation, but the law applies to anyone that offers or agrees to engage in a sexual act for a fee. "If vice officers can impact the financial incentive by reducing the number of customers, we believe there will be a direct correlation in the reduction of prostitutes in the area," says Captain Steve Jett of the Vice Division. Additionally, undercover female officers had a number of men who were very concerned they were undercover police officers and backed out after beginning to proposition them. Jett says this indicates that the recent publicity of these operations is beginning to work.

RMT/JFC 2-18-05

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.