Downtown Neighborhood Wants Prostitution Gone

June 19, 2003
Posted at: 8:36 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, Ark. -- A central Jonesboro neighborhood is tired of it. They want to wave goodbye to illegal and dangerous criminal activity that goes on everyday and all night.

Jonesboro Police say prostitution and drug traffic activities are two problems some areas of the city see fairly regularly. Some people that live around Huntington Avenue want to take back their neighborhood and make their community safer.

On one corner, a homemade sign posted on the pole of a stop sign warns would-be johns that their car's tag number will be written down and sent to the police. It could be called an aggressive "sign of the times," but Al Mays and his neighborhood watch buddies have a message for those they believe participate in prostitution and drug trafficking operations.

"We've gotten tired of seeing prostitution trade on our street," said local resident Al Mays. "So we put up a couple of signs saying we're going to start writing down license plate numbers, and we will report it to the Jonesboro Police Department."

Actions like Mays' are those that Detective DeWayne Pierce says helps police investigate and arrest prostitution solicitors and customers.

"It's not just in your major cities," Pierce said. "It's uh, it's come home."

To some, it may be a surprise that police see this type of crime, and the ones that usually accompany it, in the growing city of Jonesboro.

"If there's one specific aspect of criminal act happening, you can rest assured something else is going to fall in behind that," Pierce said.

Police records show the city's force make more arrests for crimes relating to prostitution than actual arrests for the offense. Detectives say their recent campaigns to crack down on prostitution, including undercover investigations are working very well.

In Mays' neighborhood, police deal with everything from drug arrests to burglaries, domestic violence, and armed robbery. They are all something he and his neighbors would like to see move out of their part of town.