Spokane PD: Anti-prostitution signs are making a difference

It has been more than a year since the city of Spokane put up signs, identifying a stretch of east Sprague as a high prostitution area. KREM 2's Lindsay

SPOKANE, Wash. – Since the signs began popping up on East Sprague Avenue in Spokane more than one year ago, KREM 2 On Your Side wanted to know from Spokane Police if they had made a difference.

Not too long ago we told you how businesses in the area felt the signs were working and the response was mixed at best.

Spokane Police said because of the sings and sting operations they have done, calls for service have gone down by two-thirds.

“Our calls for service in Spokane have dropped dramatically for prostitution calls,” said Lt. Steve Wohl of the SPD.

Police said in comparison to 2015, they have decreased calls for prostitution on East Sprague by 81 percent.

From January to September 2015, SPD said they responded to 95 calls.

From that same time period for this year, they only responded to 18.

SPD said it is not just the signs, it is also the businesses. They are working to revitalize the neighborhood has also helped, they said.

In the last year and a half, SPD has done five undercover sting operations to target prostitution for a total of 17 arrests and 11 cars towed.

The problem has not gone away altogether though. Police said they know a lot of it has moved online. They said if they start to see an uptick on Sprague again in the future they would likely conduct another sting.

Lt. Wohl said he hopes it improves enough to where they can take the signs down.

“Then it wouldn’t be considered a high crime or high prostitution area, that’s our goal.”

(© 2016 KREM)


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