getting residents to fight prostitution

A few days ago, I posted something here on the site about prostitution in Ypsilanti. In the ensuing dialogue, a few people suggested putting video cameras up around town, at locations traditionally known for that sort of thing. The idea, I think, was that the cameras would either deter johns, or catch men in the act of soliciting sex. Another MM.com reader, at that point, mentioned that he or she had read that pictures of eyes have proven more effective than video cameras in deterring crime. And, with that in mind, I was going to suggest that we as a community come together some weekend to make giant papier-m

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6 Comments

  1. mark
    Posted August 14, 2008 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    Or, how’s this for an idea. We give away one acre lots to artists and bands and invite them to do whatever they want with the space… Devo, the Residents, David Byrne… People that would do interesting stuff… We could even let Iggy Pop come home and do something… like maybe open a charter school…

  2. egpenet
    Posted August 15, 2008 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    Stupid … prostitutes serve a purpose in society and always will. It should be regulated and can be done with taste and class. It’s the pumps and the drug-related terorism that must end.

    One acre and a mule, eh? Silly. (We still owe a half a million slaves THAT promise!)

    Let the ladies work who want to work the sex trade. A lot of people either do not give or do not get what they need. And it can be for a fair price … provided they are in good health and are not under the thumb of an absolute jerk-off pimp.

    Pimping shlould be criminalized in a very heavy manner.

    As I said in another of the endless posts here … demand licenses for prostitution, exams and clarity on STDs, HIV, etc. with regular 3-month check-ups. Proceeds to Focus Hope and Corner Health.

    Yu gouys are just too squeamish about sex! Give it up. Buy some cream and be done with it, for Pete’sake.

  3. mark
    Posted August 15, 2008 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    My idea may be stupid, Ed, but I think it’s more likely that we’d have people with giant eyeballs on their heads patrolling the streets than legalized prostitution. That’s just never going to happen… And, for what it’s worth, I was kind of joking in my post. I don’t really think we should enlist the Residents to fight crime in Ypsilanti… Maybe, however, we could get them to do a show in the park.

  4. not one of the cool kids
    Posted August 15, 2008 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I believe that one easy place to start is the building department. If the citizens really started to put in to writing complaints about the suspected houses things MAY change a little. I was told by the building department recently that they only do spot inspections now when there are complaints about a certain property (put it in writing, that dept’s filing system is non-existent). You can’t complain to them that it’s a whore or drug house, but you can complain about something as little as no screens in the windows, or boards on ONE window, or unsafe porches. Look up the city codes on the website, see if you can find a fault in the buildings they frequent, and complain. If the building department won’t/doesn’t help, maybe the fire department would. They used to do inspections every 2 years in rentals, not sure what the policy is now. But if you see a fire hazard, complain.

    Having groups or bands in the area is a cute idea, and it made me think of “a sit down, or stand down” – what I mean is get at least 6 people (3 couples) and meet in the hot spots and be in their way, just be there. This would mean some late nights, but it could be an adventure. Just hang out where they do. Follow them if you scare them away, seriously, we have a right to walk the streets too. Making flyers or signs announcing the new neighborhood watch is a great idea, plaster them around the areas. But if they don’t see any humans backing up the flyer’s then they won’t work.
    If they do speak to you , tell them they aren’t wanted here, with a woman present. I think having a women in your group is very important because women relate better to other women and will be less threatening. And the Pimps will be less likely to bother your group with a woman present.

    This will take a lot of volunteering and time, but shame is a good motivator even if you are a whore. Citizens will motivate them more than the Police, because they know what the law is, and the criminal punishment is worth it for them. (Perhaps getting a little consulting from a social worker in this field would give you and idea on how to speak to them effectively.) Forming this new kind of neighborhood watch could work, talk to the police department about to get their opinion. Maybe this new group could also talk to some of the merchants and try to identify the regular whores in town. The Beer cooler, Franks, and a few gas stations, see if they will help you, put up flyers, or maybe even give you and idea about where they live etc.

    Taking pictures won’t help. The whores know they are whores, and the web is too large to HOPE that some John’s wife finds his picture on the net. Video camera’s won’t work….come on who is going to sit and go through all that film…plus, it’s spooky big brother and all.

    Trying to “help” the whores won’t help, they know where to get help, and they can be very manipulative to those offering help, plus we aren’t qualified to advice these women.

    I would volunteer if the group agrees not to make this a moral or religious issue. Just make it a straight forward issue – simply, we don’t want you here. Could be an interesting social experiment.

    And Mark, did you know David Bryne is coming to the Michigan theatre in October, tickets go on sale next Friday. He is promoting his new album with Brian Eno! Hate to post this because it my hurt my chances for good seats! oh well

  5. Ol' E Cross
    Posted August 16, 2008 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    Dear EgP,

    If we can, for the moment, agree that even if prostitution is subject to legal standards (like, say, gun ownership), can we agree that illegal prostitution (like, say, gun ownership) will likely continue … what do we do?

    I think the uncool kid has great suggestions, really do. I have a good friend, in a major city to the east, who used to take pix of illegal activity and send it to police until he was car chased and life threatened by a John … another friend, in the same hood, was beaten unconscious for passive-aggressively recommending drivers slow down. (EgP, what to do with unregulated Johns weaving up and down our streets while getting blow jobs; this isn’t a hypothetical.)

    Legalized prostitution aside, I really don’t want people driving my block while getting oral sex or receiving it in my neighbor’s driveways (neither hypotheticals).

    If anyone has their ear, I’d like the police to tell me how I can best help.

    An easy scenario: A woman, to me an obvious prostitute, wanders the bus stop, ogling traffic. When the bus nears, she walks half a block away, then returns when the bus has gone. A few minutes later, she finds her way into a pickup.

    Do I call the police saying, “A woman didn’t get on the bus but is in a red pickup, call in SWAT”? Really, what is the most helpful thing? Someone educate me on my role…

    I’ll snitch, turn a blind eye, quietly clean up condoms, or beat fuckers with flashlights. You think I’m kidding, but I can be a team player. I just need to find my place. Just say the word.

  6. heronblue
    Posted August 17, 2008 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I agree with: “Pimping should be criminalized in a very heavy manner”, and “If we can, for the moment, agree that even if prostitution is subject to legal standards (like, say, gun ownership), can we agree that illegal prostitution (like, say, gun ownership) will likely continue … what do we do?

    I do think that its a more pressing issue for folks who have kids/teens and who don’t want them subjected to witnessing sordid encounters. But we all should be concerned about the welfare of kids here and what they are exposed to.

    Maybe with funding limitations its important to do more in the neighborhoods, like revive neighborhood watch. Do you meet with your neighborhood association and feel connected with CoPac or Citizen Patrol? maybe a neighborhood watch structure is more intensive and would more effective than these other measures during times of police – I’m not sure if we have active neighborhood watch here?

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