Police arrest nearly three dozen on prostitution charges

By Nick Kenney - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A focused crackdown on prostitution in Memphis resulted in nearly three dozen arrests this week.

At McLemore and Third, Donald Collins can look out his barbershop and see prostitutes at work.

"They walk up past my business quite frequently, and I know what they doing, and then it's disruptive to my clients," he said.

This week, police have worked to take prostitutes off the street, sweeping through the McLemore and Elvis Presley corridors.

According to police, during a typical operation, officers place a decoy, wearing a wire, inside car. The decoy then drives around targeted areas in search of anyone walking the streets who might be "working."

When the decoy finds someone, he tries to call that person over to his car. If the person approaches, he tries to initiate a conversation about sex.

If and when they make a deal, the decoy will make a 'takedown' signal, and officers move in to make an arrest.

During their recent two-day operation, Memphis police picked up 31 people on prostitution charges.
Area resident Joseph Williams agrees with the crackdown, but argues more follow up is needed.

"I know there's a way out," he said. "I'm a minister.  I know there's a way out.

Others, like Collins, are worried about damage the prostitutes are doing to his neighborhood's image.

"It can be a problem," Collins said. "A serious problem, because it's really bad for business."

If nothing else, Collins said, he wants the prostitutes to move away from the corner of McLemore and Third.

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