The San Rafael Police cited five men Friday night after they allegedly agreed to pay for sex in an undercover prostitution sting.
Police officials said the operation was spurred by a recent rise in complaints about prostitution from local businesses and residents in San Rafael’s Canal neighborhood.
It had been several months since the police did an undercover sting — cracking down on prostitution is tricky because it’s difficult to catch prostitutes or pimps, police officials said Friday night before the sting operation’s briefing at the San Rafael Police detective headquarters.
But as Patch observed on Friday night, the police can target prostitution clients, or “johns,” in an attempt to curb the illegal behavior that has been linked to violent crimes.
Police had a female officer pose as a prostitute on San Rafael’s “track” Friday night. Several Bay Area towns, including San Rafael, Santa Rosa, San Jose and Vallejo, have prostitution “tracks,” where pimps regularly drop off girls before they perform other crimes, such as robberies, in the same area, according to San Rafael Police Lt. Dan Fink.
In the past year, there have been 100 documented prostitution-related cases in the Canal, according to the San Rafael Police.