Jessup, MD

Tactics Used

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

Jessup is a small community of approximately 8,000 residents, located near Laurel and Savage in Howard County, Maryland. Situated along the Route 1 corridor, it is one of several unincorporated areas in the vicinity that are known for prevalent street- and hotel-based prostitution and sex trafficking.

To address these issues, the Howard County Police Department has conducted many reverse stings in Jessup using undercover officers as decoys. The names, ages, and hometowns of each arrested john are released to the media, and are usually reported in the local news.

Three reverse stings were conducted in Jessup in 2013 alone.  For example, in August 2013, the HCPD sent female officers undercover along Washington Boulevard, and intercepted individuals as they approached and solicited the women. Nine johns were arrested as a result. A tenth man was charged with human trafficking after approaching one of the officers “as a pimp and soliciting her to work for him.”

In December 2015, media outlets reported the completion of a web-based reverse sting in the community. HCPD officers reportedly posted a decoy advertisement to a website known for commercial sex solicitation, and arranged to meet the men who responded in the Washington Boulevard area of Jessup. Six men were arrested as a result; all of their identities were publicized in press. In a statement to the Baltimore Sun about the investigation, a HCPD representative indicated that law enforcement “will be posting new ads on similar websites [in the future] to remind the community of the dangers and punishments relating to human trafficking,” and will “offer resources to victims, such as housing, treatment assistance, and transportation.”

Similar web-based reversals were subsequently conducted.  For example, an operation in February 2016 netted 13 johns, one in September 2016 produced 10 arrests, and another in July 2018 produced six arrests.  The identities of all arrested sex buyers were included in news releases.

In September, 2020, eight Maryland men were arrested in an undercover prostitution operation launched by the Howard County Police Department. None of the men lived in Howard County.   The sting unfolded at a hotel in the 8100 block of Washington Boulevard in Jessup.  Detectives had placed decoy ads on websites known to be used for prostitution. Men who called the number in the ad spoke with an undercover officer who provided a meeting location upon the caller’s request. When the men arrived and offered money for sex acts, they were arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution and disorderly conduct.  The identities of the men were disclosed in news reports.

Key Partners

  • Howard County Police Department
  • Anne Arundel Police Department

Key Sources

State Maryland
Type City
Population 8197
Location
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