College Park, MD

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

College Park is a Maryland suburb of Washington DC, with a population of about 35,000. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of the county. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Local prostitution activity has been focused in area hotels, historically.  Among the problems associated with the local commercial sex market are documented cases of sex trafficking and of physical assaults on prostituted women.  For example, in 2012 a man was arrested for assault and armed robbery after Prince George’s County police alleged the man had sex with a prostituted woman in a College Park hotel, then sprayed her with pepper spray and stole her money at gunpoint.

Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. The Prince Georges Police District reports routinely conducting prostitution operations, including reverse stings.  In August, 2012, a focus on combating demand involved two reverse stings during the month, resulting in the arrest of 24 male sex buyers (a total of 80 arrests were made in the month-long anti-prostitution effort).  The identities of arrested sex buyers are released to the media; some of the outlets publish them, others do not.

In November 2012, officers conducted a web-based reverse sting. Police had rented rooms in a motel on Baltimore Avenue. The room on the first floor was used to hold suspects who had been arrested. On the second floor, they rented two pairs of adjoining rooms. About six officers were on hand to help with arrests and the paperwork, and there were 2 decoys. Detective posted $10 ads in the adult-services section of The sting yielded the arrest of 29 men on solicitation charges, six women on prostitution charges, one charge of human trafficking and one charge of hindering. Sting operations led to 227 arrests in 2012, mostly in the College Park area, with some in Oxon Hill. From 2010-2012, police had made 691 arrests in the same area.  In August, 2016, Prince George’s County Police arrested more than 20 male sex buyers in a prostitution sting in College Park.

Key Partners

  • Prince George’s County Police District
    • I & IV Special Assignment Teams
    • Narcotic Enforcement Division
  • FBI Human Trafficking Unit
State Maryland
Type City
Population 35110
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