The Youngstown Police Department’s vice squad recently found out that it lacks the one ingredient to launch a successful crackdown on prostitution in the city: credible undercover hookers.
Last month, vice cops set up a prostitution sting on Arlington Street, but netted only four johns.
There could be many reasons for the less than satisfactory result, but one in particular certainly sheds light on the challenges confronting the police. Here’s how Vindicator Crime Reporter Patricia Meade described it in a story Nov. 3:
“One of the would-be johns grew suspicious and drove away after telling Johnson she was too pretty to be out selling herself.”
Johnson is Patrolwoman Dorothy Johnson, who along with Patrolwoman Nancy Tipple, posed as a fake hooker. As they strolled Arlington in the chilly morning air, they attracted a lot of attention from men driving by, according to Meade.
“Many of the potential customers, some in obvious work vehicles such as tow trucks and vans with roof ladders, circled back several times before stopping to check things out.
“Only four took the bait,” Meade reported.
The comment about Johnson’s looks is revealing. The john is obviously familiar with the quality of hookers who walk Youngstown’s streets, and pretty they aren’t.
Thus, for the vice squad to be successful in its crackdown on prostitution, it needs to recruit skanks who have quite a few miles on them.
There probably are some cities that would be willing to send us some of their undesirables.
Either that, or the police department must find a way of making the undercover cops less attractive than what they are. One of the more popular items last Halloween was an ugly looking set of teeth — bucked, yellow with blood red gums — that may fool the johns. Hair in curlers and food stained, threadbare clothing would also help.
That, sadly, is what can be seen on the streets of the city of Youngstown.
Can things get any worse?