|IT Based Tactics||✓|
Englewood is a home rule municipality of approximately 35,000 residents located in the westernmost part of Colorado, in Arapahoe County, CO. Prostitution and sex trafficking are well-documented problems in the city and surrounding areas. This activity and its ancillary crimes has resulted in complaints to local law enforcement from residents and businesses. Among the crimes associated with the area’s commercial sex market are drugs, violence against individuals engaged in commercial sex, child abuse, child sexual abuse material (CSAM), and child sex trafficking/exploitation.
To combat prostitution and sex trafficking, the Englewood Police Department began using reverse stings as a means for reducing consumer-level demand for commercial sex in 1985, if not earlier. For example, in the May 1985 operation, police arrested over 50 male sex buyers who had responded to a decoy ad placed by the Department in an ‘adult entertainment’ magazine promising a ‘fantasy land.’ According to reports, the ad ran for a total of seven days and and garnered the arrests of 56 male sex buyers. According to police, the arrests included “all sorts of people. “We got physicians, attorneys, people who are very successful in sales.” Additionally, police reported that one of the arrested sex buyers was 83-years-old. Police did not release the identities of arrest sex buyers upon the conclusion of the investigation.
Neighborhood action has also been documented as a demand reduction tactic in the city. For example, in 2021, a neighborhood crime stoppers group conducted a web-based reverse sting operation targeting individuals seeking to sexually exploit minors in exchange for money. The group, Colorado Ped Control, organized the sting and communicated with potential child predators online, arranging a place to meet in Englewood. Upon the suspects arrival to the predetermined location, the neighborhood group confronted the man and recorded the interaction with audio and visual recording devices as evidence for police, who had allegedly communicated with an undercover volunteer the man believed to be a 13-year-old girl,
“The man allegedly solicited a female volunteer decoy, posing as a 13-year-old girl for sex online and through texts. Englewood police detained the man for questioning.”
While one member was confronting the offender, another member called the Englewood Police Department, who then placed the suspected offender in the patrol car and transported him to the station for questioning. Details on his arrest are pending. The group posts the suspected predator’s identity and operation footage online for other community members to see.
Street-Level Reverse Stings:
- Phony ad brings 56 arrests (1985)
- 83-year-old man arrested in vice sting (1985)
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Neighborhood Action, Cameras, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.eptrail.com/2021/08/11/colorado-ped-patrol-tommy-fellows-police-reaction/ (2021)
- https://www.denverpost.com/2021/08/11/colorado-ped-patrol-tommy-fellows-police-reaction/ (2021)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- Salem tip led to Denver police scandal (1961)
- Vice charges filed against city resident (1979)
- https://douglascountynewspress.net/stories/prostitution-ring-crumbles-in-court (2012)
- Council Newsletter (2012)
- https://www.justice.gov/usao-co/pr/englewood-man-arrested-production-child-pornography-and-travel-intent-engage-illicit (2014)
- https://www.denverpost.com/2016/09/01/arapahoe-county-crime-blotter-englewood-police-work-with-fbi-bust-prostitution-front/ (2016)
- https://truecrimedaily.com/2018/04/18/englewood-brothers-arrested-for-child-exploitation-neglect-after-woman-told-authorities-she-was-locked-in-shed/ (2018)
- https://kdvr.com/news/local/englewood-brothers-arrested-for-child-exploitation-after-woman-told-authorities-she-was-locked-in-shed/ (2018)
- https://www.denverpost.com/2018/04/18/englewood-child-exploitation-charges/ (2018)
- https://www.denverpost.com/2019/07/26/englewood-child-pornography-brothers-prison/ (2019)