Arlington has a history of substantial prostitution activity within the city, and had spent decades arresting prostitued persons to no measurable benefit. In 1990, the Arlington Police Department began focusing on demand by conducting periodic reverse stings. In 2006, the Arlington Police Department conducted a systematic study of prostitution in the city, and of methods of combating it. The study led to recommendations for action, and a plan was formed that was known collectively as “Operation Spotlight.” This was a comprehensive approach to address supply, distribution, and demand for commercial sex. The demand component focused on intensified reverse stings. The Arlington Police Department had a small Vice Unit with only one female at the time, limiting their ability to conduct large-scale reverse stings. This capacity was bolstered by selecting several female patrol officers and training them in prostitution decoy operations. Patrol units from the force assisted in the planning and support of undercover operations. From December 2006 to March 2007, a total of 220 arrests for prostitution were made along the Division Street and Watson Road corridor (Ayala and White, 2008). Once arrested, johns had their names posted to the APD’s official website, and press releases were provided to the media. In addition, “Dear John” postcards were sent to the home addresses of arrestees, to discourage the men from reoffending and alert others in the home that the individual was allegedly engaged in high-risk behavior. Civilian patrols were also formed that would record apparent “cruising” behavior of potential johns, and forward the information to police. SOAP orders were also established, prohibiting johns from entering certain parts of the city known for high levels of street prostitution.
While Operation Spotlight lasted just under two years, a similar anti-prostitution initiative (dubbed the “You Never Know” Campaign) soon followed. The APD continues to use many demand-driven tactics on an “as needed” basis, whether it be in response to community complaints or in preparation for an influx of tourists and visitors (e.g. the 2011 Super Bowl).
- Arlington Police Department
- National Assessment Survey
- Reverse Stings:
- “Police Arrest Eight Men in ‘John Sting'; Officers Target Areas Frequented by Prostitutes”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 21 2001.
- “North District Officer Honored”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 1 2007.
- “Operation Spotlight”, Ayala & White, Nomination for the 2008 Herman Goldstein Award at Florida International University’s School of Criminal Justice, Arlington Police Department, May 29 2008.
- “Prostitution Sting Leads to 9 Arrests”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 24 2008.
- “‘You Never Know’ Campaign, 2010-2011″, Press Release, Arlington Police Department, 2011.
- Web Stings:
- “City Fights Prostitution Online”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 7 2007.
- “Arlington Police Tackle Online Prostitution”, WFAA-TV, February 10 2010.
- “Arlington Police to Pose as Prostitutes on Web Sites to Lure Customers for Arrest”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, February 11 2010.
- Arlington Police Department’s Official Site for Prostitution-Related Arrests
- “Problem-Oriented Policing: North District Update and Initiatives”, Press Release, Arlington Police Department, May 2007.
- “Arlington Police Tackle North District Problems with Multiple Strategies”, Press Release, Arlington Police Department, June 6 2007.
- “Prostitution Suspects to Be in the Glare of the Public Eye”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 28 2007.
- “Police Seek News Ways to Fight Panhandling, Prostitution”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 4 2007.
- “Mug Shots Still Being Posted on Web Site”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 14 2009.
- “Arlington Police Using Billboards Near Cowboys Stadium to Deter Prostitution”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, January 15 2011.
- “Editorial: Shamed Away from Sex for Hire? Probably Not”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, January 23 2011.
- SOAP Orders:
- “Arlington Police Propose ‘Exclusion Zone’ Around Entertainment District to Combat Prostitution”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 23 2010.
- “City Council Discusses Prostitution-Free Zone for Cowboys Stadium for Super Bowl XLV”, NESN, June 23 2010.
- “‘Exclusion Zones’ Have Had Mixed Results Fighting Prostitution”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 4 2010.
- “Arlington Police to Discuss Crackdown Near Cowboys Stadium Again”, Dallas Morning News, August 12 2010.
- “Arlington Debates Plan for Prostitution Exclusion Zone”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, September 5 2010.
- “Arlington Proposal for Prostitution Exclusion Zone Shelved”, Dallas Morning News, September 15 2010.
- Example of a “Dear John” Postcard Mailed by the APD to the Homes of Arrested Sex Buyers
- “Police Send ‘Dear John’ Postcards to Dissuade Prostitution”, WFAA-TV, June 7 2007.
- Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Prostitution Moves to Part of Arlington Traffic Flow from Fort Worth, Upsets West Division Merchants”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 17 1993.
- “Zero Tolerance Arlington Declares War on Prostitution”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 18 1993.
- “Law Targets Prostitution”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, November 25 2001.
- “City Determined to Clean Up 2 Long-Blighted Corridors”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 4 2007.
- “Arlington Police Made 59 Prostituted-Related Arrests in Run-Up to Super Bowl”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, February 15 2011.