Prostitution sting nets seven arrests by police

Seven arrests were made by the Coon Rapids Police in a prostitution sting operation conducted at a Coon Rapids hotel April 17.

This was the police department’s third prostitution sting operation since last fall – the others were in November 2012 and January.

It took place as part of an ongoing effort to dissuade prostitution activities in Coon Rapids, according to Coon Rapids Police Capt. John Hattstrom.

“They will continue as long as there is a perceived issue,” Hattstrom said.

Prostitution can lead to other crimes, such robberies and assaults, which when they occur tend to be under-reported by the victims, he said.

According to Police Chief Brad Wise, the backpage.com online website promotes activities underground out of the public view that result in violence against women.

“We have to do something to reach these women to choose a different path as well as to do something to create awareness of the impacts of this website,” Wise said.

“We need to do our part to put a stop to the death and destruction it causes.”

The other two operations have had a female police officer working undercover in a room at the hotel after the police department had placed an advertisement on the backpage.com website.

But this operation had a second component – a male police officer working undercover in another room at the hotel responding to ads placed by women on the backpage.com website.

As result, not only male customers were arrested through this sting operation, but female prostitutes were, too, according to Hattstrom.

In fact, there were four men and three women jailed and cited for gross misdemeanor engaging in prostitution with an individual age 18 and older in a public place.

They were all released with a pending court date.

Police received the cooperation of the hotel in setting up the sting operation, Hattstrom said.

In January, five men were  arrested in the prostitution sting operation at a hotel in the city.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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