Inwood, FL

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Shaming
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Letters
Cameras
Web stings
License suspension

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 john 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, and 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 johns’ 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 johns. 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 were publicized in local media outlets.

Key Partners

Key Sources

State Florida
Type City
Population 6925
Location
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