ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The problem with prostitution in south St. Louis appears to be getting worse. We told you a couple of weeks ago about the prostitution problem in the Dutchtown neighborhood. Ever since a federal court ruled that a city ordinance used to lock up prostitutes was unconstitutional, the problem has exploded. The court ruled an ordinance against public demonstrations infringed on first amendment rights.
Now residents in the Cardondelet neighborhood are telling News 4 that prostitutes have moved in and have practically taken over part of their neighborhood along a two block stretch of South Broadway. They’ve seen litter and vandalism increase and there have been several times that teenage girls who live in the area were chased down by johns who thought the girls were prostitutes.
Resident Adam Kustra and others have organized a neighborhood association in hopes of embarrassing the johns and sending the prostitutes elsewhere.
“It’s almost like a circus out there on the street and to the point that they will yell at us and scream back at us as if we’re on their turf,” he said.
Police tell me they’ve got to catch someone in a lewd act to lock them up. But residents say police don’t seem to be looking very hard.
“I wouldnt go so far to say the city is failing us but they’ve made it left up to us,” said Kustra
We talked with the St. Louis Police Department to ask what was being done to get a handle in the problem till the board of aldermen reconvene on September 14th and can begin work on a new ordinance. Police tell me they’re organizing undercover operations and checking with their legal department to see if they can publish the names of johns who have warrants returned against them.
Plus, we’ve learned that the city legal department is in the process of writing a new ordinance that will target the activities of prostitutes. And within a couple of weeks after the board of aldermen meet, a new ordinance will be submitted for approval.