Daytona Beach, FL

Tactics Used

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

Daytona Beach is a city of approximately 69,000 residents, located an hour north of Orlando in Volusia County, Florida. Commercial sex activity has posed considerable problems in the community for several decades, and has been linked to cases of suspected sex trafficking, incidents of child endangerment, and targeted sexual assaults and homicides of prostituted persons.

The Daytona Beach Police Department has targeted sex buyers through the use of street-level reverse stings since 1977, and web-based stings since 2005. Large-scale reversals are frequently conducted, using one or more undercover female officers as decoys. The DBPD has at times collaborated with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. A recent example was a combined sting/reverse sting occurring in November 2013. On the first day, undercover male officers conducted a street-level sting, arresting 10 women. The next day in the same area, 10 men were arrested after agreeing to pay for sex with an undercover female officer posing as a prostituted person. Daytona Beach police focused their efforts on Ridgewood Avenue and the surrounding streets, local areas known for prostitution. The names and ages of the arrestees were publicized.

To track solicitation activity and ensure the safety of undercover officers, Daytona Beach police equip all decoys with recording devices. Recordings may then be used in court to convict offenders. The names and identities of those arrested for prostitution are reported to the media, and have been since 1987. Arrested sex buyers may also have their license suspended or vehicle seized, depending upon the circumstances of arrest. As of September 2010, sex buyers may also have a letter from police mailed to their home address. Dubbed a “Dear John” letter, it notifies all residents of the individual’s illegal behavior and provides information about STDs/STIs that he is at high risk of contracting through prostitution.

Loss of employment is another consequence of buying sex that has occurred within the city. For example, in December 2016, the Daytona Beach Deputy City Manager resigned after being caught in a prostitution sting. The man submitted his resignation two days after showing up at a hotel in Daytona Beach Shores expecting to engaging in commercial sex with a 22-year-old college student for money, according to charging documents released by the Volusia County State Attorney’s Office. An undercover female deputy sheriff placed an ad on Backpage.com pretending to be a student looking for a “discreet upscale gentleman.” The suspect met the woman in her room that but left quickly because he became suspicious when she insisted that he place cash on a table so she could make sure it was the agreed-upon sum. One of the prices discussed was $100 per half hour. Volusia County deputy sheriffs stopped the man’s truck after he drove away, but he would not speak to them and they did not arrest him at the time. The State Attorney’s Office decided to prosecute after an investigation into the man’s text messages. The man was charged with offering to commit prostitution, a second-degree misdemeanor. The sex buyer worked for the city for about two years. He previously was city administrative officer in Plantation, town administrator in Davie, assistant city manager in Pembroke Pines and city manager in Hannibal, MO.

Key Partners

Key Sources

National Assessment Survey (2012)

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Auto Seizure:

Cameras:

Letters:

Community Service:

Employment Loss, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

Child Endangerment:

  • “Father Arrested for Prostitution with Toddler in Car, Police Say”, NBC/WESH-TV 2, March 11 2014.
  • “Police: Man Caught in Prostitution Sting Had Child in Car”, Daytona Beach News-Journal, July 18 2014.

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Florida
Type City
Population 68711
Location
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