Rockford Police head online to bust people selling sex. They joined forces with area law enforcement agencies to arrest more a dozen people. Rockford Police says complaints about prostitutes on the streets have gone down around the city, but they knew it was not because the people involved had stopped doing business.
"Prostitution is not a new crime. It is a crime that has existed for hundreds of years, literally. What has changed is the manner through which this crime is conducted. Long gone are the days when prostitutes simply walked the streets," says Joe Bruscato, Winnebago County State's Attorney.
The Rockford Police worked with the Illinois State Police, Loves Park Police, the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department and State's Attorney's Office to target prostitutes using the internet to get clients.
"This information comes forward from multiple sources which is why we are hear today making this announcement," says Chief Chet Epperson.
Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson says they made arrests at the Red Roof Inn and Sweden House Hotels on East State. Thursday, 40 officers worked until midnight bringing in 13 people they say are connected to prostitution and other crimes.
"Of those 13 people arrested we had 18 charges including prostitution, felony prostitution, promoting prostitution. We had a couple drug charges in there, we had a warrant that we cleared out of Boone County, a failure to appear, so that's one reason I think it was effective," says Lt. Marc Welsh.
This was another Clean Sweep Operation by Rockford Police. Since last fall they have been running these types of multi-agency operations to decrease crime in Rockford.
"Prostitution brings out other sort of crimes at the street level. Certainly prostitutes are involved in other sort of violent criminal behavior so it is not a victimless crime," says Chief Epperson.
Police says they did not warn the hotels they were making arrests there. But say they did contact them the morning after in hopes of getting their cooperation to stop prostitution if it happens on their property again.
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