Inwood, FL

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

Inwood is a census-designated place of approximately 7,000 residents, located near Winter Haven and Lakeland in Polk County, Florida. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has conducted many street-level reverse stings in the area due in part to frequent complaints from residents, business owners, and public officials. Notably, in February 1989, PCSO deputies staged a sex buyer sting along the perimeter of one of Inwood’s junior high schools after parents and teachers reported commercial sex sales were occurring near school grounds.

Around the same time, Inwood residents formed the Inwood Association. From the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, members attended city council meetings and other public hearings to voice support for anti-prostitution measures. They reported the license plate numbers of cars seen idling or beckoning prostituted women to local law enforcement. In December 1992, Inwood Association members encouraged PCSO deputies to enforce a state law enabling officers to revoke the licenses of sex buyers convicted of soliciting sex from a vehicle. While Polk County deputies reported that they would begin applying the penalty, it is unclear how consistently it has been applied in the years since.

In early October 2014, PCSO deputies staged a reverse sting in Inwood and the Lake Ida area that resulted in the arrest of 13 sex buyers. Among the arrestees were a registered sex offender, a man with a baby and a vial of crack cocaine in his vehicle, and a man days away from beginning a jail sentence for a human trafficking conviction. Following their arrest, each of the men’s names and mugshots was publicized in local media outlets.

Key Partners

Key Sources

Reverse Stings:

Identity Disclosure:

License Suspension and Neighborhood Action:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Child Endangerment:

State Florida
Type City
Population 7196
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