Crime

D.C. Police Prioritize Stopping Theoretical Sex Over Solving Actual Crimes

Police brag that solicitation stings will have devastating consequences for men arrested.

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AgnosticPreachersKid/Wikimedia Commons

Between May 1 and June 25, nearly 30 people were killed in what are believed to be homicides in the Distict of Columbia. Just this week, a pregnant woman was stabbed here while riding her bike home from work. The downtown-adjacent, recently gentrified neighborhood of Logan Circle has seen nine robberies, one homicide, two incidents of sexual assault, and two other assaults between late May and late July, in addition to 4 burglaries, 43 reports of theft, 44 reports of theft from a car, and 11 stolen cars—and that's all within 1,500 feet of the neighborhood's center. Expand your crime-report search out to the corners of the neighborhood, and you'll see more of all of the above. Or look at my neighborhood, Mount Pleasant: 7 robberies, 1 assault, and 45 incidents of property crime within a quarter mile of the main drag during June and July. The neighborhood around the Reason offices has seen just one robbery with a gun in this time, but also 33 other property crimes. And these are all what are considered "nice" neighborhoods within the district. 

So what have D.C. cops been busying themselves with this summer? Well, between July 14 and today, they've arrested 50 men for soliciting prostitution.

Priorities! 

D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans has been pushing the recent anti-prostitution efforts, introducing legislation last week that would allow city cops to impound the cars of anyone arrested for solicitation. He says both the bill and the police efforts are in response to a massive influx of street-based prostitution in his neighborhoods around Logan Circle. Yet Evans offers no evidence for this claim, and it seems especially unlikely considering the trend just about everywhere has been toward more web-advertised sex sales and fewer women walking the streets. 

But whatever: We don't have to fully believe Evans' claim to see that even were it true, D.C. cops are not actually addressing the problem. If they really wanted to stop street-based prostitution in Logan Circle, they would either go after street-based sex workers or go after people they witness purchasing sex from them. (Not suggesting cops should do more of either, but these actions would at least make sense in regard to their stated goal.) Instead, police have been posting online ads posing as sex workers, arranging to meet men at area hotels, and then arresting the men for solicitation when they show up.

Yes, in order to stop men from cruising the streets looking for sex, they're going after men who try to arrange everything over the Internet. Which makes it pretty clear the real goal isn't fixing a neighborhood quality-of-life issue, as Evans and police have been portraying the efforts. But punishing people for prostitution is sexier than investigating iPhone thefts, less dangerous than solving violent crimes, makes the yuppies of places like Logan Circle happy because they think it's helping their property values, and allows cops to extort money (and maybe soon cars) from people who've had the audacity to answer an Internet ad. Cops bragged to The Washington Post that "a single [soliciation] arrest can have devastating consequences for their jobs and families even if they are punished lightly in court." 

Evans (to his credit?) doesn't even pretend that this is some noble effort against human trafficking; he just wants to get the filthy sex-havers out of the delicate sight of him and his constituents. "Prostitution is a regional business that thrives from Richmond to Montreal. It will go to the jurisdiction of least resistance," he said. So long as it's NIMBY…

But not all Logan Circle residents appreciate Evans' fight. "Since I've lived in this neighborhood, and it's a really good neighborhood, I've been mugged once, I've seen two shootings," resident James Quinn told WUSA9. "I think those are things to focus on more than prostitution." 

Police say the sting operation is ongoing. 

NEXT: When Drug Warriors Burn a Baby, Who's to Blame?

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  1. I had theoretical sex last night.

    1. That’s what your woman said

        1. Right…

          “Your reptile.”

          1. What does his manaconda have to do with anything?

        2. Rosy Palm. She’s a nice lady.

  2. more web-advertised sex sales and less women walking the streets.

    FEWER! Jeez, Liz, this seems to be an ongoing problem.

    1. Oh FFS yes, I guess it is. (Thanks for the heads up)

      1. This is off topic, Elizabeth, but have you and the others ever thought about moving your office(s) to a less dangerous neighborhood?

        1. I just realized the Reason offices are in a less dangerous place than your residence, so I should have asked whether or not you have thought of moving.

          1. Did you just ask her to move in with you? Bold, bold.

            1. He said less dangerous.

              1. It’s very safe in padded basement.

                1. Better than Warty’s basement, or SugarFree’s dungeon. Or STEVE SMITH’s bit of forest.

                  1. Now I can’t get The Revels – Comanche out of my head.

                  2. STEVE SMITH not have “bit of forest.” STEVE SMITH have all forest!

            2. Did you just ask her to move in with you? Bold, bold.

              No, Florida man, I like Elizabeth well enough, but not as much as my cousin .

          2. She can’t afford to, because Reason is paying her slave wages and stealing her labor. Like good libertarians should.

            1. Elizabeth,

              Great article, I agree with all your points but, in your list of motivations:

              “punishing people for prostitution is sexier than investigating iPhone thefts, less dangerous than solving violent crimes, makes the yuppies of places like Logan Circle happy because they think it’s helping their property values, and allows cops to extort money (and maybe soon cars) from people…”

              You ignored a vital one: “helps cops and prosecutors fool their wives into thinking these men faithful, loyal husbands who’d never, ever visit prostitutes themselves.”

              Note the trend of cops who frequent the “filthy” massage parlors they pretend to abhor…

          3. Both are actually in very safe neighborhoods. Comparatively, anyway.

            1. Keep that brave face on, ENB!! It gives the rest of us…..HOPE!!

              *breaks down crying*

            2. This article reminds me of a friend of mine who moved into one the recently gentrified DC neighborhoods. She constantly had property stolen, a couple of bikes, a laptop or two, various tote bags. Being the good progressive she is, she always blamed herself and excused the thefts because of her privilege.

              1. She constantly had property stolen, a couple of bikes, a laptop or two, various tote bags. Being the good progressive she is, she always blamed herself and excused the thefts because of her privilege.

                I kinda wish there were more bike thieves around. The kids keep leaving theirs out on the lawn and I keep telling them someone will steal them, but it never happens.

                My geriatric neighbor thought he had his mower stolen once. Turns out he left it sitting by the curb and the salvage guys thought it was junk. Once he figured out what happened he got in touch with the salvage company. Got an apology and ‘new’ mower out of the deal. Apparently they have a hard time telling when someone has put an old (but otherwise working) mower out for junk and when someone has just left a mower out.

            3. Yeah, DC is a shithole like that. I’m so glad I’m done with college and back to civilization.

            4. I have a low opinion of D.C. and your article did not improve it.

              Youse guys/Ya’ll be as safe as you can.

      2. This is why we love you.

          1. That’s the other reason. We like our writers to be a bit disgusting.

            1. It is like we share a mind.

              1. That would be frightening except that it’s so much better than sharing a mind with SugarFree.

  3. police have been posting online ads posing as sex workers, arranging to meet men at area hotels, and then arresting the men for solicitation when they show up.

    I trust they video all this for a TV reality show.

  4. Since I’ve lived in this neighborhood, and it’s a really good neighborhood, I’ve been mugged once, I’ve seen two shootings

    Yes, it sounds like an awesome neighborhood. He really should go into real estate sales.

    1. But you can get coffee with half a dozen modifiers on ever corner, so he’s got that going for him.

      1. *every* corner, dammit.

    2. These people are marks, and the criminals in the neighborhoods know it. I managed to live in the RFK neighborhood, off C street, for a little over a year with no problems.

  5. “D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans has been pushing the recent anti-prostitution efforts, introducing legislation last week that would allow city cops to impound the cars of anyone arrested for solicitation. ”

    There is no money in solving rapes, robberies, or murders.

    1. Exactly.

      And why just their cars? Take their fucking *houses*!

      1. That’s what their wives will do.

        1. Take their fucking *wives*!

          1. + Talledega Nights

          2. Please!

      2. They could if they thought about it for a second and had the meeting at the John’s house. It would then be part of the crime.

        1. Or the John’s place of business.

          1. Wait – are the call girls roomy ?

  6. If they get rid of men who solicit prostitutes, then the muggers and vandalizers will leave, too, right?

  7. With the addition of a camera it is not prostitution. It’s porn. So an arbitrary law is arbitrary and criminalizes a voluntary transaction.

    1. And of course police exist only to ruin you. Do you really expect them to try to solve “actual” crimes? That would require effort and risk.

      1. Based on my experience with them from a burglary, they don’t serve any useful purpose whatsoever.

  8. I’ve had many, many, many prostitutes. So many that I’ve considered writing a book.

    And this idea that the Internet has reduced the number of street walkers is ridiculous. It’s like saying the number of basketballs sold reduces the number of baseballs sold. They have nothing to do with one another.

    A lot of the street girls simply don’t have the means to get onto the Internet. They wouldn’t even know how to begin. I’ve personally set up a few girls on the ‘net (back when one could do so on craigslist), and none of them stopped walking. They just used it to supplement their usual income.

    So Reason, can we please stop promulgating this idea that the free market Internet has saved women from street walking? It’s as uniformed as it is wrong.

    1. I’ve had many, many, many prostitutes.

      Have you really had a prostitute? Is that the correct term? Wouldn’t it be more prudent to say that you have rented many, many, many prostitutes?

      1. Or, maybe he’s a pimp, and he “had” them as in “had them in his stable”. A pimp’s love is a different kind of love.

        1. I assumed he meant he ate them.

    2. “From Main Street to the Information Superhighway, or As it Turns Out, You Really Can Buy Love, And It’s Not as Expensive as You Think, ” by Sven Galli.

    3. Actually sales of basketballs probably do depress those of baseballs. Kids have only so much $ & time. I coach kids in football, & we definitely compete for the business w lacrosse, soccer, baseball, tennis, martial arts, & video games.

      The street girls may not have the means to work the Internet, but their customers do. One thing the powers that be have right is that if you take away customers, you take away biz.

  9. Entrapment. Such BS.

    They can suck my big vampire rooster.

  10. “I think those are things to focus on more than prostitution.”

    Sorry, James Quinn, but with a passive attitude like yours it will never happen. Understand that deference to government is high in DC, but you really should be demanding that your employees and elected officials do something about this.

  11. Solving crimes is hard. Entrapping people with fake hookers is easy. Remember police get rewarded for the quantity of arrears not the seriousness of the offense

    1. People look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them promotions, benefits etc. are largely (and in the SC highway patrols case almost entirely) based on the number of arrests made, regardless of the outcome of the case itself, and revenue generated.

    2. Funny…. True, I am not a fan of prostitution and have no problem having it targeted but when the city has so many other problems.

      Then again DC has the highest concentration fo crooks in the country,,,, and we are just talking about congress and the government workers…

      1. I am not a fan of prostitution and have no problem having it targeted

        Then why the fuck are you here?

    3. Solving crimes is hard well nigh impossible. Security cameras have done a lot more against crime than police.

  12. But if the police went after the muggers and the murderers, they’d be IN DANGER. It’s all about officer safety!

    1. I’ve seen stories on the /r/washingtondc where someone calls MPD to report someone trying to break into their apartment, and MPD dispatch refuses to send an officer out unless the person on the phone can verify that the person trying to break into their apartment does NOT have a gun.

      1. Is the person liable for lying or just being wrong & saying the breaker-in has no gun?

  13. C’mon guys, if the ad states “any race, any age”, that’s a cop.

  14. I fucking hate cops. They are nothing but vampire vultures who suckle on the weak and protect their butt brothers in uniform when the commit atrocities. They are as worthy as the dog shit stuck to the bottom of my shoe.

    The day I witness a cop actually do something good for the people I will be amazed.

    1. Your handle…Wheel of Time fan?

  15. Solving actual crimes is dangerous. You wouldn’t want them to compromise officer safety, would you?

    -jcr

  16. See, if you look at the war on prostitution from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the pimp. That is literally true. Whose interests are served by keeping prostitution illegal? The major beneficiaries from prostitution being illegal are the pimps, who can maintain a living they would be unable to maintain without current government policy. So the question to D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans is: how many pimps do you have contributing to your campaign? If I were a pimp, I’d be donating as much $$ as I could to the “prostitution warriors” to keep the current policy in place.

    1. a living they would be unable to maintain without current government policy.

      That’s not necessarily true. Pimps existed before government ever tried to outlaw prostitution.

      -jcr

  17. “Yes, in order to stop men from cruising the streets looking for sex, they’re going after men who try to arrange everything over the Internet.”

    This seems relevant: https://youtu.be/b9Ot5pUc74o?t=20s

  18. Jack’s shrunken testicles are swimming with brawling feminist sharks and social justice piranha battling to squeeze through Jack’s craven pisshole so their life-destroying angst can momentarily exist in Jack’s precum dribble every fucking time Jack’s pleasurephobic baton ravages a lonely man seeking comfort in a soft vagina outside Jack’s motherfucking clover norms.

    Every Baptist pastor who hates homosexuality and rages about it before the Sunday picnics has been bested a billion times by Jack’s war on dollar-bill male orgasm.

    Jesus loves you, Jack.

  19. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.Times-Report.com

  20. but It’s so much easier to setup a sting operation for petty crimes than to investigate real crime and it appeases both the bible thumpers and the media outlets that just love to pretend to be “outraged” over anything “naughty” as long as it brings in more clicks.

  21. How is it that every person on the Internet agreed that it was appalling for Gawker to publicly out Tim Geithner’s brother for trying to pay for sex online and yet the majority of the population seems to think that we should employ police officers to do the same thing?

    1. i think i remember reading somewhere that its a sign of intelligence to be able to hold two conflicting ideas in your head at the same time. it’s also called cognitive dissonance though

      1. It’s doublethink.

  22. Why is it that these law enforcement people revel in destroying other peoples lives?! I submit it is because they are psychopaths. Who else could be happy about ruining someone else’s life?! Especially when it happens both parties would be participating in consensual sex!

  23. Police inducing criminal activity should not be allowed. Police should not be out there pretending to sell illegal drugs. Police should not be pretending to be prostitutes.

    If they want to pretend to buy drugs or be “johns” in order to catch people *already involved* in committing crimes, that is fine with me.

    I’d love to be a judge so I could dismiss every case of the cops being on the “supply side” of criminal acts.

  24. This sort of “law enforcement” sure beats chasing real criminals. It’s also less dangerous, however much danger there might be in real police work.

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