CRIMINAL JUSTICE 4 PARAGRAPHS Following the guidelines in the section Elements of a Research Proposal (pp. 24-25) and using the report Street Prostitution

Following the guidelines in the section Elements of a Research Proposal (pp. 24-25) and using the report Street Prostitution

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Following the guidelines in the section Elements of a Research Proposal (pp. 24-25) and using the report Street Prostitution in Raleigh, North Carolina: A Final Report to the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services on the Field Applications of the Problem-Oriented Guides for Police Project found at streetProstitution.pdf (  , identify the following:

Problem or objective of the study
Research question(s)
Subjects for study
Measurement – What are the key variables in the study?
Data collection – How was the data collected in the study?
Analysis – What kind of analysis was done in the study?
Results – What were the results of the study?

A Final Report to the U.S. Department of Justice,
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
on the Field Applications of the Problem-
Oriented Guides for Police Project


This project was supported by cooperative agreement #2001CKWXK051 by the Office of
Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions contained
herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of the U.S.
Department of Justice. References to specific companies, products, or services should not be
considered an endorsement of the product by the author or the U.S. Department of
Justice. Rather, the references are illustrations to supplement discussion of the issues.


The capital city of North Carolina, Raleigh
enjoys a modest crime rate and widespread
economic prosperity. The city is not free of
public safety problems, however, and many
crime problems addressed by the Raleigh
Police Department are concentrated in low-
income areas populated by minority groups.
In 2002, police undertook a problem-solving
effort to reduce street prostitution in one
police district near the city’s Central
Business District. The problem had been
one of long standing, relatively immune to
routine enforcement efforts by police and
revitalization efforts in the city. For many
years, prostitution and street level drug
dealing had been a source of community

To learn more about prostitution in the area,
police examined historic arrest data. Arrests
were primarily of prostitutes rather than
customers. Over ten years, a group of about
60 chronic offenders had been routinely
arrested and rearrested by police for
misdemeanor offenses ranging from
worthless checks, drug paraphernalia and
prostitution. In most cases, the women were
adjudicated guilty and sentenced to “time
served”; many were rearrested within a short
period of time within the same geographic

As this project concluded, Raleigh police
were developing a two-pronged approach to
the prostitution problem: one focused on
detecting and discouraging the male

customers of prostitutes; the other focused
on assisting female prostitutes in leaving the
business either voluntarily or through
conditional release from jail. The male
customers were to be deterred through a
publicity effort that placed photographs of
arrested offenders on the department’s
website and cable television; further,
customers who appeared to be seeking
prostitutes in the neighborhood were
identified through police and citizen
surveillance and the department was
preparing a cautionary letter to be sent to the
residence of the licensed vehicle owner.
Police were planning to assist female
prostitutes by linking them with needed
services, such as housing, drug and alcohol
treatment and other services. For
entrenched prostitutes, police were seeking
court dispositions to restrict offenders from
the areas of prostitution and require drug
treatment, as appropriate.

The response phase of the project had not
been fully implemented at the conclusion of
the project but police were continuing their
efforts and developing a unique way to
measure their impact. Since arrests and calls
for service do not provide reliable indicators
of the extent of the prostitution problem,
police were developing a procedure to assess
how accessible the prostitution market was
to customers. By recording start-and-stop
times for undercover operations, police were
measuring how long a customer might have
to look for a prostitute and the amount of
time a prostitute might have to wait for a
customer. While the efforts may not
completely eliminate prostitution, police
believed that increasing the time and effort
to negotiate sexual transactions would
reduce the problem and improve the quality
of life for citizens and provide a measure to
police to monitor the problem over time.


In January 2002, a survey was conducted of
sworn officers in the Raleigh Police
Department. Personnel from patrol,
investigations and special operations were
asked to identify and rank order the
problems of most concern on their beat and
to rank the extent to which the problem
could be improved through police effort.
Nearly 450 people responded to the survey,
approximately 70% of the Department’s 640
sworn personnel. The respondents consisted
primarily of line personnel from the
Department’s field operations division.

Survey results indicated that
prostitution was not perceived as a citywide
problem, but was viewed as particularly
problematic in the Downtown District—one
of six patrol districts and adjacent to the
downtown area of Raleigh. In contrast to
many other problems included in the survey,
police respondents consistently ranked
prostitution as a problem that could be
substantially improved through a problem-
solving effort. Among all the field
operations personnel, a greater percentage of
officers in the Downtown District than any
other responded to the survey, and their
interest prompted the Chief and command
staff to address the problem of prostitution
in this area.

Scope of the Problem

The scope and seriousness of prostitution in
Raleigh was not immediately obvious,
though a focus group with officers in the
Downtown District indicated that it was a
recurring problem, closely linked to crack
drug markets. One patrol officer described
the problem on his beat:

If you throw a rock on
my beat, you will hit a
drug dealer. If you don’t
hit a drug dealer, you
will hit a prostitute.

While the description was somewhat of an
exaggeration, the officers believed that the
problem with prostitution was common,
occurring 24 hours a day over seven days a

Police were not the alone in their
concern about prostitution. In 2001, a survey
of Raleigh citizens revealed similar
concerns. Asked to list three top priorities
for the Department, 34% of respondents
urged police to “clear the streets of
homeless, prostitution and drugs.” The
citizen survey also indicated that many
Raleigh citizens did not travel to the center
city areas because of concern about their

Some experienced police in Raleigh
described the evolution of prostitution over
time. For many years, problems had been
concentrated in an area known as Moore
Square, a park on the edge of the Central
Business District in Raleigh, but
redevelopment of the area in the early 1990s
apparently displaced much of the of it to
several predominately residential
neighborhoods less than a mile away.

As well as being a problem in
Raleigh because of its visibility and
offensiveness to citizens, prostitution had
also been associated with violence. In 1991,
Raleigh police arrested a man for brutally
killing a prostitute from Southeast Raleigh
(North Carolina v. Taylor). Although it
occurred more than 10 years ago, witnesses
in that case described a pattern of open drug
use and street prostitution in areas where the
problem continues today. In fact, one of the
witnesses in that murder case—Eva Marie
Kelley, now 54 years old—remained an
active prostitute and was even arrested by
Raleigh police three times in 2002 on
prostitution-related charges.

Violence associated with prostitution
became a headline story again in 1996, when
six poor black women, four of them
prostitutes, were killed over the course of
the year. As a result of a decoy operation,
police arrested a suspect in February 1997 as
he was assaulting a woman. Again, in May
2002, several prostitutes in Raleigh were
assaulted and raped, and police were
searching for a suspect.

Despite these periodic episodes of
violence that generated newspaper
headlines, most prostitution in Raleigh has
been relatively cloaked from public view
and geographically isolated. By 2002,
prostitution in the city was described by
police as consisting of four relatively
discrete problems:

homosexual prostitution, which
clustered in several blocks
downtown near gay bars and
also occurred in one notorious
state park
street prostitution, a multi-ethnic
problem occurring in several
locations primarily in the
Downtown District, and closely
linked to drug markets. Street
prostitution also included some
transvestite prostitution,
although this appeared to be part
of street prostitution rather than
a distinctly separate problem.
houses of prostitution set up by
an emerging Hispanic immigrant
population, including Hondurans
and El Salvadorans
escort services.

Based on a preliminary discussion of
the types of prostitution in Raleigh, police
elected to focus on street prostitution near
drug markets concentrated geographically in

areas near downtown and located in the
Downtown District. They perceived the
four types of prostitution as separate and
necessitating different approaches.

The problem with street prostitution
was not new to the Downtown District. This
diverse geographic area encompassed the
central business district of downtown
Raleigh, a large state government complex
including the state Capitol building and the
Governor’s mansion. Residentially, the
district included an historic neighborhood of
single-family homes, several public housing
complexes and a wide variety of other
single- and multi-family housing. Most of
the prostitution appeared to concentrate in
predominately residential neighborhoods,
areas that were clearly low income but not
desperately deteriorated.

Police were well aware of citizen
concerns about prostitution in these
residential areas, part of which had been
targeted through a C.O.P.E. project—Citizen
Oriented Police Enforcement—in late 2001.
At that time, uniformed police had surveyed
nearly 600 citizens, who reported a high
level of concern about prostitution. The
respondents’ concerns about prostitution
were exceeded only by their concerns about
drug dealing in the area. In addition to
conducting the survey during the COPE
project, Raleigh officers provided their
names and phone numbers to citizens,
documented problems such as code
violations, and made referrals to other city

Traditional Response

Notwithstanding the COPE project in 2001,
Raleigh police had traditionally responded
to prostitution primarily through undercover
operations. These periodic enforcement
efforts typically resulted in the arrest of
female prostitutes. Occasionally, these

operations included reverse stings, in which
female undercover officers were deployed to
target the customers of prostitutes. It was not
always easy for police to find female
decoys, however, as few Raleigh officers
could emulate the state of physical decline
that often characterized the street prostitutes.

Undercover operations continued
into 2001 and 2002. Over the course of a 10-
month period (May 2001 through February
2002), police in Raleigh made 143 arrests
(see Table 1) for varied prostitution-related
charges including soliciting, crimes against
nature, and felony charges for acts such as
oral sex.

The arrests in Table 1 were
predominately generated by undercover
operations. Traditionally, uniformed officers
in Raleigh have not been involved in
responding to prostitution; typically they
discourage prostitutes by making individuals
aware of police presence but make few
arrests because the evidence necessary for
the criminal charge of prostitution is
difficult to obtain. Since officers would
generally be unable to observe the actual
solicitation, a case requires that officers
observe the sexual act and obtain a
statement from either the customer or the
prostitute. It is difficult for police to obtain
such statements, as they are inherently self-

Instead of charging prostitutes with
prostitution, including soliciting and crimes
against nature, uniformed officers are more
easily able to enforce a state statute
prohibiting “loitering for the purpose of
engaging in prostitution” adopted in 1979.
This charge requires only that officers
observe multiple efforts by prostitutes in
public places to stop pedestrians or drivers
by beckoning or other repeated efforts to
engage in conversation. While the loitering

charge only required uniformed officers to
observe the patterned behaviors and could
be accomplished through surveillance, this
task usually required a block of time free
from calls or assistance from other beat
officers. Despite the lower threshold of
evidence, the loitering charge therefore
appeared to be used infrequently.

The loitering statute did not provide
police with assistance in apprehending the
customers of prostitutes. In fact, case law
appeared to specifically prohibit the
application of the loitering statute to
prostitution customers:

It is the organized and
repeated provision of
[prostitution] services, not their
use by unorganized and casual
individuals, that constitutes the
most readily eradicable social
evil. (State v. Evans, 1985).

Prior to analysis for this project, beat
officers were very familiar with the problem
of prostitution in the Downtown District.
Although there was little empirical data
about its extent or prevalence, many of the
officers knew the prostitutes by name and
routinely saw the women move throughout
the geographic area. Officers described the
problem as being quite visible and
concentrated on and just off the major
southern, northern and eastern thoroughfares
into the city of Raleigh—Edenton Street,
New Bern Avenue and Person Street (see
Figure 1).

For the most part, police perceived
the prostitutes as being quite blatant in
soliciting and generally unconcerned about
police actions. Police also had some ideas
about the prostitution market, the prostitutes,
and the criminal justice system. As a
preliminary form of analysis, we developed

these ideas as hunches about the local
problem and sought ways to gather
information to verify or disconfirm these

The following perceptions shaped
our initial hunches or working hypotheses
about street prostitution:

Some police believed that the
Department’s prior responses to
prostitution had not been
effective because enforcement
efforts were not sustained over
time or there was an insufficient
amount of enforcement. In
particular, some uniformed
police officers perceived that
more undercover enforcement
was necessary since uniformed
officers could do little about the
Police were aware that many
citizens were very concerned
about prostitution in the
neighborhood; citizens routinely
complained there was not
enough police enforcement and
were concerned about visible
contact between prostitutes and
customers, evidence of sexual
activity such as used condoms
and uninvolved women in the
neighborhood often being
approached for sex. Citizens
were equally concerned about
drug markets, however.
Some of the police officers
believed that many women had
taken up prostitution because of
drug addiction or the inability to
find other sources of income.
They described the prostitutes as
being on the bottom rung of
society and often virtually
homeless. Police also believed

most of the women were
frequent users of drug and
Police were aware that many of
the prostitutes were physically
victimized by their customers
and were reluctant to report
assaults to the police. Believing
little could be done about the
their victimization, prostitutes
seemed to treat violence as an
occupational hazard and the
evidence of such violence—
broken teeth or bruises—was
often apparent.
Most police felt arrest was not
an effective deterrent for
prostitutes because many of the
women served only a short
period of time and returned to
the streets almost as soon as they
were released. They felt
prostitutes perceived arrest and
jail time as a cost of doing
business and that arrests served
only to temporarily incapacitate

Each of these hunches about the
problem was addressed and generally
supported in Street Prostitution, one of the
Problem-Oriented Guides for Police. Even
police perceptions about the need for more
enforcement efforts against prostitution were
supported by the Guide—although it noted
that such strategies were expensive and a
that strong police presence could create or
reinforce perceptions that the neighborhood
was unsafe. From the outset of this project,
most police appeared to support the
premises of the Guide—namely that an
effective strategy must do more than arrest
prostitutes, and must give them an
alternative, necessitating the involvement of
service agencies; and that effective

strategies should also address the behavior
of prostitution customers.


Preliminary problem analysis was
undertaken to verify the prevailing wisdom
about prostitution near downtown Raleigh.
The analysis was organized to examine the
characteristics of the environment and the
prostitution market, to learn more about
prostitutes and their customers, to assess the
effectiveness of the criminal justice system
in handling the problem, and to gauge
perceptions of residents in neighborhoods
where the problems were most severe.

Geographic Characteristics of
Prostitution Market

Arrest data from 2001 and 2002 was
used to determine the geographic areas in
which prostitution occurred. While there
was awareness that arrests might not reveal
the entire picture of the prostitution market,
police agreed that prostitution certainly was
occurring where arrests were made. Spatial
analysis of arrests showed that prostitution
was primarily occurring in three distinct
areas along and adjacent to the New
Bern/Edenton and Person avenue corridors
of the city (see Figure 3). These one-way
surface streets carried much of the vehicular
traffic into and out of the city each day.
Despite the high volume of traffic on the
roadways, the streets were not limited
access, included numerous traffic signals,
and the speed limit was posted at a modest
35 mph. Thus the streets gave potential
customers in vehicles the ability to appraise
the market and its risks by slowing down or
stopping without fear of detection. The
street configuration also provided potential
customers immediate access into, and escape

routes out of, the residential areas along the
major thoroughfares. In the Edenton Street
market, most arrests occurred on or within
one block of the thoroughfare (see Figure 1).

Spatial analysis of prostitution and
drug arrests also revealed the close
proximity of prostitution and drug markets
(see Figure 2). While many drug arrests
occurred away from the prostitution area,
virtually all of the prostitution arrests
occurred in the midst of the city’s primary
drug hot spots. The correlation between the
two markets supported the police view of
the close relationship between prostitution
and drug markets.

Composition of the Prostitute

Although police were knowledgeable about
individual prostitutes, prior to analysis there
was no empirical information about the
number of prostitutes, where they lived or
their involvement in other crimes. Arrest
data shed some light on the composition of
the prostitute population.

1. Virtually all of the prostitutes for whom
addresses were available lived close to
the prostitution and drug markets, further
highlighting the interrelationship
between drugs and prostitution, and
offenders were typically arrested within
two to three blocks of their residence
(see Figure 3).

2. They ranged in age from 18 to 54 years
old, but most were not young women—
the average suspect was 35 years old.
Among 50 chronic prostitutes for whom
age information was available, more
than half were aged 30 to 39, while one-
fourth were 40 years or older.

The prostitutes were ethnically
diverse—about two-thirds were
African American and one-third
were Caucasian. Few Hispanic

prostitutes were detected,
presumably because that market
(as described previously) is
typically manifested in houses of
prostitution rather than street

Arrest data from May 2001 to

October 2002 was examined to determine
the number of active prostitutes. Of 201
arrests for prostitution made by the Raleigh
Police Department, most (109) were of
offenders arrested only once during the time
period, while 39 individuals were arrested
more than once for prostitution during the
period and generated 92 arrests. Thus, about
one-fourth of offenders accounted for nearly
half of the total arrests (see Table 2).

Relying only on arrest data
underestimates the proportion of prostitutes
who are repeat offenders or habitual
prostitutes, however. When Raleigh police
ran criminal histories on all 148 persons
arrested for prostitution during the data
period, the analysis revealed that an
additional 21 of the suspects had been
previously arrested for prostitution, resulting
in a total of 60 repeat offenders. This
analysis suggested that 40% of prostitution
suspects (60 out of 148) were habitual
prostitutes, accounting for 56 % (113) of the
arrests for prostitution in about 18 months.

Although using arrest and criminal
history together improved our understanding
of chronic offenders, these data
underestimated the criminal activity of
prostitutes. A detailed analysis of criminal
history provided greater insight into
individuals’ criminal careers. The 60
suspects accounted for 779 various
charges—208 or 27% of all charges were
prostitution-related. On average, each
suspect had 13 charges in their criminal
history (see Figure 4). In addition to

prostitution, charges included worthless
checks, trespassing and public disturbance.
Many of the charges—a total of 147—were
drug- or alcohol-related, including
paraphernalia, drug possession and DWI.
The criminal histories showed little
involvement in property or violent crime,
although a few fraud and larceny charges
were included in the total.

The criminal history data gave more
insight into the involvement of prostitutes in
drug-related activity and shed light on the
proximity of offenders’ residences to the
drug and prostitution markets. The picture
that emerged of prostitution was a lifestyle
rotating between getting high and getting
money to get high. The proximity of the
prostitute’s residence provided a place to
take a break, get high, carry out the sexual
transaction or clean up after the transaction.

The cycle of sex and drugs theory
was reinforced by the close correlation
between pricing for sexual transactions and
pricing for drugs. Arrest data suggested that
prostitutes offered sex for prices ranging
from $15 to $50; the average price solicited
was $21, approximately one dollar more
than the prevailing price for crack. The
typical sexual transaction was for oral sex.
The association between prices of sexual
transactions and drugs cannot be considered
causal because we do not know the direction
of the relationship, but the similar pricing
structuring and the brevity and ease
associated with oral sex supported the
contention that prostitutes offered a
particular type of service (oral sex) and
priced their service as low as possible in
order to quickly generate enough money to
get high and to perhaps purchase a small

Police developed a survey to learn
more about prostitutes, including their

business practices, customers, and social
needs (see Appendix A.) During the course
of this project, they completed
approximately four surveys with prostitutes.
But as it was difficult for police to get
cooperation, the interviews were not
generally productive. Even the four
completed surveys included a number of
refusals by the subjects on specific
questions. Although we anticipated that we
could gather additional information by
finding someone else to carry out the
surveys, we elected to focus our analysis
efforts elsewhere. A few kernels of
information from the completed surveys did,
however, shed some light on our
understanding of prostitution.

Among the prostitutes interviewed,
one was 19, two were 37 years old and one
was 52. All said they had engaged in
prostitution for less than two years—one
because of homelessness and the others
because they needed money. Three were
virtually homeless, and one reported living
with her parents. Three of the prostitutes
reported regular use of crack and alcohol.
None of the prostitutes used a pimp and
none routinely traded sex for drugs or shared
their earnings with anyone else.

Three of the prostitutes reported
having regular clients, and one reported
having both regular customers and providing
services to strangers. Three described their
clients as arriving in vehicles and carrying
out the sexual transaction in the vehicle.
Two reported being victimized by
customers—rape, robbery and assault—but
neither had reported this to police.

Two of the prostitutes reported
having no set schedule or routine working
hours and claimed to work either day or
night. However, three prostitutes estimated
the length of their working day as,

respectively, three hours, four to eight hours,
and eight hours each day. Two prostitutes
estimated the number of customers as,
respectively, three to four, and five per day.
Two of the prostitutes said the prostitution
market was not competitive and could be
lucrative, while another, the oldest prostitute
who worked the fewest hours, reported
jealousy between prostitutes and said there
was little money to be made.

Prostitution Customers and Market

Since there were few arrests of prostitution
customers and we gained little information
from interviews with prostitutes, we realized
we knew little about prostitution customers.
Nonetheless, we made several assumptions
about the prostitution market, based upon a
reading of the prostitution literature, other
observations, and common sense.

The prostitution markets were
located near and just off major
thoroughfares—a location that seemed
attractive to “out of town” customers; and
most sexual transactions appeared to occur
in or near the market, where the prostitutes
and their customers felt relatively safe. We
believed it likely that the market included
many repeat customers and that customers
learned about it informally, from friends and
associates. Although customers may have
been coming to the area to purchase drugs,
interviews with prostitutes did not support
this view. Customers were exclusively male,
but appeared to include a wide range of
ethnic groups and ages.

Although the sexual transactions
were relatively inexpensive, the custody of a
vehicle suggested that these customers were
wage earners, and thus could be deterred
through informal social sanctions or
shaming. It was hypothesized that a
proportion of customers were also married,

making them further receptive to informal
social sanctions.

The POP Guide on prostitution
suggested that prostitutes often carried out
three to five sexual transactions per day and
worked five days per week, and the few
interviews with prostitutes confirmed this.
Using this formula, we hypothesized that
approximately 60 chronic prostitutes,
making 15 sexual transactions per week for
50 weeks per year, would result in
approximately 45,000 sexual transactions.
Over an 18-month period, the duration of
this study, we can estimate that 67,500
sexual transactions occurred. Police
involved in the study believed that these
estimates were very conservative, however.
To the extent they are accurate, police
effectively clear only about 3/10 of 1% of
offenses through arrest.

To learn more about the customers,
we analyzed arrests of prostitution
customers. In 2001-2002, Raleigh police
arrested 56 males for prostitution1. The
suspects were ethnically diverse and
included 34 African Americans, 16
Hispanics, five Caucasians and one Asian.
Although the customers ranged in age from
19 to 58, age appeared to vary with
ethnicity—for example, among the African
American suspects, most (23, or 68%) were
30 years old or older; while among the
Hispanic suspects, who ranged in age from
19 to 42, only two (13%) were 30 years old
or older.

The geographic origin of suspects
was more informative than their ethnicity
and age. Among the suspects who reported
addresses, 37 could be verified, geocoded
and mapped. While 14 (39%) of these
suspects resided relatively near the offense
location, 61% lived three miles or more
from the location of the arrest; 25% lived

more than nine miles away (see figure 5 and
table 3).

Citizens in the area believed most of
the customers came from outside the
neighborhood, however. In a survey of
citizens conducted by police in October
2002, 83% of respondents voiced this belief.
Similarly, 81% of respondents indicated that
customers and prostitutes hooked up via car
rather than on foot, and this view appeared
to be supported by the interviews from

Total arrests with valid
address information 362

Since the conclusions about the
residence of prostitution customers were not
fully supported by empirical data, we
undertook further data collection to clarify
this information. For two evenings in …

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