Nicer Weather Means More Prostitutes and Johns Trolling Everett’s Streets

May 14, 2014

Everett, Police Blotter

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When the weather gets nicer in Everett, the number of suspected prostitute sightings increases as do complaints from women just walking down Evergreen Way or Broadway that men are slowing and pulling over as they just try to walk to where they are going. One afternoon earlier this month the Everett Police Special Investigations Unit conducted an operation on Everett’s streets and made arrests within a few hours. After the operation was over had a chance to ask a few questions of the vice squad…

Q1. Today’s operation targeted women working the streets of Everett. How many arrests?

A. -There were two arrests. One was booked and the other was released with a citation. Both occurred in North Everett.

Q2. Is EPD now looking at this from more of a human trafficking perspective? Are the girls arrested now being offered more victim type services?

A. -EPD takes each contact on a case-by-case basis – the dynamics of the situation help guide the process we take with each individual. If we contact a woman (regardless of age) and we discover evidence of sex trafficking (either by pimp or other means) services and options are offered. We are very sensitive to the fact there are many factors that may lead someone into the “sex trade” and try to address each circumstance to the best of our ability.

Q3. Seems every time the weather heats up the traffic increases. Are these people being brought here?

A. Correct, weather (the SUN) appears to be a strong factor in the increase in traffic. Although, website traffic for prostitution maintains a steady pace throughout the year. We believe there is evidence that people are brought to Everett from neighboring states/counties by pimps but some women are independent “workers”.

Q4. Broadway north and Evergreen Way south are SOAP areas. Is that program having any effect?

A. Yes, the program has been in existence for some time and is a good resource for patrol operations.

As a quick aside: SOAP areas have had an impact. Besides being a tool for patrol to proactively address suspected prostitution behavior, evidence has shown that it has had an impact on geographical areas of the city. Every two years, the SOAP areas are reviewed and geographical areas are expanded or contracted based upon actual prostitution activity. For instance, Hewitt Ave and Casino Rd both used to be included in the SOAP orders. Due to no reportable activity or enforcement, these areas are now eliminated from the orders.

Q5. Anything else that folks should know about crime by the girls, against the girls or both?

A. There are many reasons and/or intricate layers involved for someone to enter the sex trade (either voluntarily or by force). Drug addiction, mental health, lure of money, survival and forced/coercion just name a few. The bottom line: Women are human beings; someone’s daughter, sister, mother or friend. Treating them with respect and dignity is our priority.

A few days after getting the above responses I asked some follow-up questions regarding the “Johns” or customers of the women who were working the streets of Everett…

Q1. We know that without customers there would be no prostitution problem in Everett. What are you doing to target the customers?

A. At this time, any comments about targeting customers might reveal our tactics on how we address them. If there is an opportunity to arrest/charge a customer for a crime, we will take that on.

Q2. Do customers in Everett face having their car seized for use in an illegal activity? Can they avoid a conviction by going to “John School”? What about jail?

A. There is no loss of car law, “John School” or penalties of that nature. Jail is an option through the legal process – municipal or RCW violations. However, our courts prosecute and impose penalties.

Q3. Do Stay Out of Prostitution Areas also apply to customers of prostitutes? Are the men you arrest local or are they coming in from outside Everett?

A. Customers may have SOAP orders and we also find many are from out-of-town.

Q4. Last year there were a few reports of robberies attached to prostitution activity in Everett. Is this a trend here?

A. While there have been reported robberies/thefts associated with prostitution activity, the national trend is that most go unreported.

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