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Chicago Heights is a city of roughly 30,000 residents in northeastern Illinois, located in Cook County just south of Chicago. Many large scale stings have occurred since 1996 as a result of feelings on the part of police and residents that prostitution and sex trafficking “cheapens a community.” Also in 1996, a city ordinance was passed allowing Chicago Heights police to seize the vehicles of men arrested for solicitation. In 2003, 106 men were arrested and had their cars seized in a five day reverse sting operation spanning the Chicago Heights region. As a penalty, they had to pay a $100 fine for soliciting and at least $100 to recover their vehicles. A reverse sting in 2012 resulted in 49 arrests and impounding of vehicles. In addition to bail and other costs, the men had to pay a $500 impound fee in 2012. The names, ages, and addresses of arrested sex buyers were published in the local media.
Not all sex buyer arrests have been the result of a proactive sting operation targeting demand. At least one opportunistic sex buyer arrest has occurred in the city. For example, in January 2012, a man was pulled over in Chicago Heights after police saw his vehicle cross over a median. Police recognized the man’s passenger as a known prostituted woman and had the man step out of the vehicle but told her to stay inside. The man admitted he had picked up the woman to “engage in sexual acts with her in exchange for money.” The woman then lunged at police who restrained her, and while they were trying to cuff her she grabbed an officer’s groin area. The woman was arrested on charges of soliciting for prostitution, battery, and resisting. The man was arrested on charges of using his vehicle in the course of prostitution and improper lane usage. His vehicle was impounded and his identity was released to the press.
Reverse Stings and Auto Seizure:
- “A Prostitution Sting Nets 30 in Chicago Heights”, Chicago Tribune, October 10 1994.
- “Chicago Hts. Nets 30 Men in Prostitution Crackdown”, Chicago Sun-Times, May 22 1995.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 35 Arrests”, Chicago Tribune, April 1 1996.
- “115 Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Chicago Sun-Times, June 23 1997.
- “Suburban Prostitution Sweep Nets 104”, Chicago Tribune, August 25 1997.
- “Prostitution Sweep Nabs 96 Men”, Chicago Tribune, September 22 1997.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 106 Men”, Chicago Tribune, November 8 2003.
- https://tuscl.net/discussion (2010)
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure, Auto Seizure:
- https://patch.com/illinois/chicagoheights/known-prostitute-attacks-heights-police-officer-grabs-groin (2012)
- “Chicago Heights: Cameras to Watch for Prostitution”, The Star (Chicago), August 5 2004.
- “Chicago Heights: Police Want More Cameras on the Streets”, The Star (Chicago), September 5 2004.
- “Ten People Face Charges After Prostitution Sting”, The Star (Chicago), April 23 2006.
Background on Prostitution in the Area: