Melbourne is a city in Brevard County, with a population of approximately 81,000. It is located near Palm Bay on the central Atlantic coast of Florida. Melbourne police began conducting reverse stings in 1986. Also in 1986, police began releasing the names of those arrested for solicitation of prostitution. Joint sting and reverse sting operations are still conducted on a periodic basis, driven in part by community complaints to police about prostitution. For example, in 2011, Melbourne police arrested four people as part of a sting targeting people who patronize prostitutes. The four men all faced charges of solicitation for prostitution, and one also was charged with possession of cocaine, possession of oxycodone, possession of alprazolam and possession of drug paraphernalia. The arrests happened in the south end of the city near the U.S. Highway 1 corridor and in the north end around U.S. 1 and Aurora Road. An operation in December 2012, produced the arrest of one prostituted woman and three johns. Following their arrest, their identities were publicized in local media outlets. A reverse sting in June, 2019, was conducted in response to community complaints about prostitution and related problems in south Melbourne (the complaints reportedly described “a constant stream of prostitutes” plaguing the Riverview Park vicinity). Street-level stings in August, 2020 and March, 2021 produced the arrest of three and two sex buyers, respectively.
There have been at least two instances of Melbourne police officers arrested for purchasing sex. In July, 2012, a Melbourne police officer was fired after he was accused of picking up prostitutes in his police car while in uniform. After an investigation by his own department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, detectives filed seven counts against him including operating a conveyance for the purpose of prostitution, and purchasing the services of a person for prostitution. In March, 2016 a Melbourne police officer was arrested for attempting to buy sex.
- Melbourne Police Department
- Brevard County Sheriff’s Office
- Street-Level Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- “10 Men Charged with Soliciting Prostitution,” Orlando Sentinel, April 8 1986.
- “Melbourne Police Arrest 8 on Solicitation Charges,” Orlando Sentinel, June 30 1986.
- “Four ‘Johns’ Arrested in Melbourne Prostitution Sting,” Orlando Sentinel, April 30 2011.
- “7 Arrested in Melbourne Reverse Prostitution Bust,” ABC/WFTV-TV 9, March 24 2011.
- https://www.wtsp.com/article/news/prostitution-sting-nets-13-arrests/67-387832713 (2011)
- “6 Arrested in Latest Melbourne Sex Sting,” Orlando Sentinel, October 19 2012.
- https://www.police1.com/patrol-video/articles/video-uniformed-cop-picks-up-prostitutes (2012)
- “Officials: Melbourne Police Officer Arrested after Offering Prostitute $40,” ABC/WFTV-TV 9, March 31 2016.
- https://www.floridatoday.com/south-melbourne-prostitution-sting-nabs-3-suspects-wake-complaints (2019)
- https://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/2019/06/14/melbourne-prostitution/1455280001/ (2019)
- https://spacecoastdaily.com/melbourne-police-arrest-three-men-for-solicitation-of-prostitution/ (2020)
- https://www.mynews13.com/fl/orlando/news/2020/07/09/city-of-melbourne-worker-accused-of-soliciting-sex-in-city-vehicle (2020)
- https://spacecoastdaily.com/melbourne-arrests-three-after-street-level-prostitution-sweep/ (2021)
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Man Jailed in Classified-Ad Sex Scheme,” Orlando Sentinel, April 23 1986.
- “Men Posing as Federal Agents Targeting Prostitutes,” ABC/WFTV-TV 9, March 28 2006.
- “9 Jailed in Brevard County Prostitution Sting,” ABC/WFTV-TV 9, August 30 2007.
- “Prostitutes Accuse Cop of Trading Freedom for Sex,” ABC/WFTV-TV 9, December 9 2008.
- “Melbourne Police Arrest 5 in Prostitution Bust,” ABC/WFTV-TV 9, April 25 2012.
- “Melbourne Cop Accused of Sex with Prostitutes while On Duty,” ABC/WFTV-TV 9, June 6 2012.
- “Police: Four Arrested in Melbourne Prostitution Sting,” Florida Today, December 13 2012.
- “Melbourne Prostitution Sting Nets 3 Arrests,” Florida Today, January 4 2013.
- “Ex-Cop Accused of Hiring Prostitutes Strikes Plea Deal,” ABC/WFTV-TV 9, February 15 2013.
- https://www.wftv.com/news/local/man-40-accused-of-trafficking-women-for-sex-in-west-melbourne/ (2017)
- https://spacecoastdaily.com/2020/12/melbourne-police-arrests-three-women-operation-targeting-prostitution/ (2020)
- Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area: