On and off for more than three decades, prostitution has been an illegal activity that Midtown has struggled to break free of.
You can find it in the early morning hours in the area roughly bound by Peachtree Street, Myrtle St., 5th St., and Ponce de Leon Ave. Many of the prostitutes in this area are transgender people offering sex for $20 to $40.
Many of the women prostitutes along Ponce, which has a long history of prostitution, are what police describe as “messy,” and are repeat offenders and heavy drug users.
But most of the Midtown prostitutes are men, including young gay ones who walk up and down Cypress Street seeking customers, sometimes approaching unexpected people exiting from nearby restaurants
The johns who pick up the prostitutes are from all over, not just the inner metro Atlanta area. The police report that many out-of-state tags are observed.
At times in Midtown, Atlanta Police Vice Unit, as well as and Zone 5 officers, will operate crackdowns on prostitution, as they did last spring when they arrested nearly 80 people during a six-day undercover detail called Operation Summer Heat.
At a recent special safety meeting hosted by the Midtown Ponce Security Alliance (MPSA), APD Zone 5 Major Christopher Leighty remarked that an undercover detail in Midtown within the last month resulted in 25 arrests. But even he conceded that prostitution had been a “problem during my entire career in Midtown,” later adding “ but we will continue to fight it.”
But is this a fight Midtown can win and if so how?
Prostitution is what some call a “quality of life” crime. Bad guys follow this type of crime and police have said the majority of the pedestrian robberies and assaults committed in Midtown are done so by individuals coming from outside the area. Clean up the neighborhoods and the bad guys won’t come some neighbors say.
We’ll be taking a look as this issue more, but please offer your input, too.
Does the Atlanta City Council need convincing to pass a stiffer loitering ordinance?
How can an increase in the number of security cameras, including those owned by citizens, help?
Would you be willing to have an APD or MPSA officer sit in your home to observe outside activities in order to make arrests? (provided the locale of observations would not be divulged during court or on arrest warrant, etc.)
Is the answer not to let habitual (and there quite a few) offenders back on the street? How about not allowing back in Midtown?
Or maybe, prostitution will be with Midtown forever.