Hammond is a suburb of Chicago located on the northwestern edge of Indiana, with a population of about 77,000. Many problems associated with the local commercial sex market have been documented in the city, including international prostitution and sex trafficking rings involving minors. It has also served as the operating base for at least two serial killers who specifically targeted prostituted women.
In response, the Hammond Police Department has adopted several tactics to reduce underlying demand driving the local commercial sex market. Officers routinely conduct street-level reverse stings using female undercover officers as decoys. Since at least 1995, johns arrested in the community frequently have their identities released to the media, and may have their cars impounded (if the vehicle was used for the purposes of solicitation) and subject to a $105 retrieval fee. Once arrested, they may also be held on bond on a charge of “patronizing a prostitute,” which is $500 for Indiana residents and $1,000 for those who live out-of-state.
The HPD has partnered with officers from the neighboring Calumet City Police Department. Law enforcement and residents have reported problems with chronic street prostitution along State Street– a thoroughfare that extends into both communities. For this reason, the departments often coordinate when conducting sting operations. For example, in September 2018, Hammond and Calumet City police partnered on a reverse sting after receiving multiple complaints about prostitution in the area. Four men were arrested in less than two hours on Wednesday, September 12, during the operation along State Line Avenue. The identities of the men were included in press releases, and each was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of patronizing a prostitute, police said. A female police officer posed as a prostitute for the street-level sting. Police planed to continue to work to prevent prostitution in the area and to release the names of those arrested, according to a news release.
- Hammond Police Department
- Calumet City Police Department
- Street-Level Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- https://www.nwitimes.com/uncategorized/police-nab-in-prostitution-sting/article_9e23ccd1-7672-5b22-add5-7a759fcf3032.html (1995)
- “Hammond Police Arrest 11 in Prostitution Reverse Sting,” Gary Post-Tribune, May 16 2002.
- “Hammond Vice Sting Collects 11 Johns,” Gary Post-Tribune, May 16 2002.
- “Hammond Sex Sting Results in Five Arrests,” Gary Post-Tribune, June 13 2003.
- “Prostitution Sting,” Press Release, Hammond Police Department, May 13 2008.
- “5 Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting in Downtown Hammond,” Times of Northwest Indiana, June 27 2012.
- “4 Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting,” Times of Northwest Indiana, July 24 2013.
- https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/post-tribune/news/ct-ptb-prostitution-sting-charges (2018)
- https://www.mdjonline.com/hammond-calumet-city-police-arrest-men-during-prostitution-sting (2018)
- Auto Seizure:
- Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “AIDS Walks City’s Downtown Streets,” Gary Post-Tribune, January 6 1992.
- “Chicago and Indiana Police Join Forces to Probe Killings of 4 Women,” Chicago Sun-Times, August 10 1996.
- “Suspect in 3 Slayings Is Released,” Chicago Sun-Times, August 14 1996.
- “Cops to Team up on Women’s Slayings,” Chicago Sun-Times, August 15 1996.
- “Quinn’s Action Spares Killer of Hammond, Chicago Women,” Times of Northwest Indiana, March 9 2011.
- “Police: Murder Suspect Lured Victims through Online Prostitution Service,” WLS-AM 890, October 20 2014.
- “Suspected Indiana Serial Killer Charged in 1 Death,” Times of Northwest Indiana, October 20 2014.
- “‘He’s Basking in the Glory’,” Chicago Sun-Times, October 21 2014.
- “Police Say Darren Vann May Have ‘Preyed on Victims for over 20 Years’,” The Guardian (U.K.), October 21 2014.
- “Accused Indiana Serial Killer Refuses to Address Court in Brief Appearance,” FOX News, October 22 2014.
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Alleged Use of Girls in Sex Ring Detailed,” Gary Post-Tribune, March 21 2009.
- “Hammond Man Gets Life for Pimping, Violence,” Chicago Southtown Star, December 7 2010.
- “Man Gets Life Term for Prostitution Ring,” Gary Post-Tribune, December 7 2010.
- “Two Hammond Men Sentenced in Sex Trafficking and Prostitution Case,” State News Service, December 7 2010.
- “Hammond Pimp Gets Life in Prison,” Chicago Sun-Times, December 9 2010.
- “Third Man Will Serve 27 Years for His Role in Prostitution Ring,” Gary Post-Tribune, January 5 2011.
- “Feds: Business Rotated Women to Keep Customers Happy in Spa Sex Ring,” Times of Northwest Indiana, January 17 2014.
- “Third Defendant Arrested in Alleged Asia-to-NWI Prostitution Ring,” Times of Northwest Indiana, March 28 2014.
- “Hammond Man, 39, Accused of Using Minor for Prostitution,” Times of Northwest Indiana, March 20 2015.
- “Hammond Man Sex Trafficking Charges,” Chicago Tribune, June 22 2015.
- https://www.nwitimes.com/lake/charge-alleges-s-ville-man-paid-for-sex-with-minors/ (2016)
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Hammond Works with Calumet City in Vice Crackdown,” Gary Post-Tribune, September 5 1988.
- “Hammond, Cal City Map Plan to Clean up State Street Strip,” Gary Post-Tribune, September 8 1988.
- “Police Target Go-Go Club,” Gary Post-Tribune, February 18 1995.
- “Prostitution Suspected at Tanning Salon,” Gary Post-Tribune, April 20 1996.
- “Teaming Up Against Common Foes”, Times of Northwest Indiana, July 4 1996.
- “Hammond, Cal City Join Forces Against Crime”, Times of Northwest Indiana, August 3 1996.
- “Border Arrests Again Called into Question; Attorney Argues Hammond Police Should Have Handled Cal City Case”, Times of Northwest Indiana, April 21 2002.
- “Hammond Adult Business Law May Be Replaced by New One,” Gary Post-Tribune, January 15 2003.