Melbourne, FL

Tactics Used

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

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.

Key Partners

  • Melbourne Police Department
  • Brevard County Sheriff’s Office

Key Sources

State Florida
Type City
Population 81468
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