RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – 31 people are in trouble with the law after a three day prostitution sting in Richmond. Police told NBC12 they targeted specific areas where residents and business owners complained about the illegal activity.
This operation was a little different than prostitution stings in the past. Police said they were able to get more resources and instead of focusing on one area, officers split up to make arrests citywide.
The arrests span the city but many of them were concentrated on Chamberlayne Avenue, North Avenue and Jefferson Davis Highway.
"You can see them walk up and then you see them ride down and get dropped back off in the same spot," said Sandy Murphy whose auto sales lot is right across the street from one of the motels where police arrested eight "johns."
On Wednesday and Thursday police targeted the hookers. One Friday, the sting focused on "johns" at the Southside Motel.
"Sometimes they just want to walk in front of the car lot up and down the pike and it causes havoc with us having to be out here and having to sell vehicles," Murphy said. "It blocks driveways. Customers don't know if you're the salesperson or what."
Richmond Police Lt. Bill Kelly said they need residents to let them know what streets prostitutes walk most frequently.
"We're going to continue to be aggressive about it and we're just not going to tolerate it," he said. "The citizens aren't going to tolerate it and the police department is not going to tolerate that type of activity."
But Murphy thinks while the situation has improved, police will never be able to fully eradicate the problem.
"It's like when they do the sting here, they'll move to Midlothian and what have you," she said. "They'll find a way."
We did visit several of the motels on Jeff Davis Highway where we're told prostitutes take their "johns." Managers either didn't want to talk to our cameras or said they don't have those kinds of issues in their facilities.