Aldermen introduces bill to crack down on prostitution

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by Maggie Crane / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on September 18, 2012 at 9:36 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 19 at 1:44 PM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- There's a new effort to crack down on prostitutes and pimps who have been taking over several South St. Louis streets.
 
It's a story News 4 broke in August after a city ordinance used to arrest prostitutes was overturned, and call girls were released back onto the streets.
 
"They would approach my son and my husband, and you were uncomfortable having company come to your home because you didn't want them to be approached by a prostitute!" Dutchtown South Homeowner Janice Taylor said.
 
News 4 promised to find out what city aldermen were doing to help police.
 
Police admit that prostitutes and pimps infiltrated South Grand and other neighborhoods and got so out of control that local teenagers just walking home from school would often get mistaken for call girls.
 
"Whores and Johns -- get out!"
 
That's the message Dutchtown South neighbors plastered throughout alleyways after prostitutes were virtually handed free reign of the city when an ordinance used to arrest them was deemed unconstitutional.
 
"We let the prostitutes know via the signs that they were not welcome here and that we were watching them," Taylor said.
 
But it wasn't enough to stop them.
 
"Anytime an ordinance gets thrown out, it's a frustrating situation, especially like this when it deals with quality of life on a day to day basis for so many people," Alderman Shane Cohn said.
 
It's up to aldermen to give police a new law to use to clear call girls off the streets.  One is now in the works, clearing up the confusing language of the old law and giving police an easy tool to arrest prostitutes and the johns who keep them in business.
 
In the meantime, St. Louis police are getting creative, and neighbors say it's showing signs of success.  Police are more visible, making it hard for prostitutes to find work.
 
"Outside of eating my lunch on South Grand and making sure that we give heavy patrols to that area, we work with the citizens and that was a big part of it," St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer Keith Novara said.
 
The Board of Aldermen included an emergency clause in bill No. 153 on prostitution, which means once it passes the board, the ordinance will go into effect the minute Mayor Slay signs it.
 

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