Airtalk for Monday October 21, 2013

LA officials consider 'Dear John' letters to curb prostitution

Oakland Police Dept. Holds News Conference On Chief Howard Jordan's Abrupt Step Down

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Oakland Police have been sending out "Dear John" letters to men suspected of soliciting prostitutes. Is this a tactic the LAPD should consider to crack down on prostitution?

If the Oakland Police Department sends you a "Dear John" letter, it's not trying to break up with you. In an effort to dissuade johns who solicit sex workers, the Bay area city has been mailing letters to men suspected of cruising for prostitutes.

RELATED: Could 'Dear John' letters help deter prostitution in Los Angeles?

The carefully crafted letters avoid accusations, simply saying their vehicle was spotted in a high-risk neighborhood.

Because the letter is sent to whomever is the registered owner, it sometimes lands in the hands of an unsuspecting spouse. Now, word is that Los Angeles may try the same tactic.

While dozens of cities across the country have used the strategy, it's not clear whether it's effective. Last week, police in Sanford, Florida started a letter campaign, but they will include photos of cars and license plates, making it more difficult to deny the whereabouts of a suspected john.

Do you think such a campaign would be effective? Would the program need the participation of residents who spot suspect vehicles?

"Dear John" letter

See another example of a Dear John Letter here. 

Guests:

Erika Aguilar, KPCC Crime and Safety Reporter

Michael Shively,  Senior Associate at Abt,Associates, a private research company focused on criminal justice, social science and public health; Shively was the lead researcher on the “National Assessment of Efforts to Combat Demand for Prostitution and Sex Trafficking” released in 2012 by the National Institute of Justice at the Department of Justice


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