Lake County, IN

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

Lake County is located on the northwestern edge of Indiana, and is considered within the outer suburbs of the greater Chicago metro area. It is the second-most populous county in Indiana (with approximately 499,000 residents), and its county seat is the city of Crown Point. Among the other cities of note within the county is the city of Hammond. Many problems associated with the local commercial sex market have been documented in the county, 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.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has collaborated with municipal and federal agencies to conduct reverse stings and employ other tactics designed to reduce underlying demand driving the local prostitution market and sex trafficking. The Hammond Police Department has partnered with officers from the neighboring Calumet City Police Department and Lake County Sheriff’s Office. 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 have often coordinated when conducting sting operations. Officers have routinely conducted street-level reverse stings using female undercover officers as decoys. Sex buyers arrested in the county 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 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.

In September 2003, a prostitution sting in Hammond resulted in the arrest of nine men. The Hammond Police Department’s Special Deployment Unit targeted sex buyers by posting an undercover female police officer as the decoy. Most of the men arrested were either from Calumet City or Hammond, and police said two men had large amounts of cash in their vehicles ($1,800 from one vehicle and $2,500 from another).

In 2015, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office participated in one of the national coordinated efforts led by the Cook County Sheriff’s office. The national coalition of law enforcement agencies conducted a summer sting operation that led to arrests of 961 would-be sex buyers and 71 pimps or traffickers. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office arrested four sex buyers and two sex traffickers.

Key Partners

  • Lake County Sheriff’s Office
  • Hammond Police Department’s Special Deployment Unit
  • Calumet City Police Department
  • Burnham Police Department
  • Illinois State Police

Key Sources

Reverse Stings:

“No Stopping” Ordinance:

Auto Seizure:

Neighborhood Action:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Indiana
Type County
Population 498558
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