Mount Clemens is a suburb located in Macomb County about 15 miles north of Detroit, Michigan, and has a population of roughly 17,000. Prostitution have been identified by community members as a serious problem dating back to the 1930s. Teen sex trafficking is also known to occur throughout Macomb County. In contemporary efforts to reduce the demand for prostitution, police have conducted reverse stings. The city of Mount Clemens also can seize autos of those arrested for solicitation of prostitution.
Around 2005, several neighborhood action campaigns targeting prostitution were launched in Mount Clemens. This included informal or non-organized action, such as angry activists posing as prostitutes to confront potential johns who circled through their neighborhood. North Gratiot Neighborhood Watch members spent two days posing as prostituted women in an area north of the Mount Clemens downtown area, in a section known for its street crime. When potential johns pulled over, the activists handed out a flier that said, “If you’re soliciting sex and/or drugs in this neighborhood, you are being videotaped. Stay tuned for the 11 (o’clock) news. Zero tolerance.” Any videos were turned into the police department as well.
One Mount Clemens neighborhood chose to fight prostitution by erecting signs warning potential customers that they are being watched by area residents. Similarly, a sign was put up by the Gratiot Corridor Watch, a group of local activists who have hosted a number of anti-crime demonstrations. The group erected a sign with reflectors on it that read: “Prostitution Zone — If you are looking, we are watching” in front of a vacant house on Euclid, near Gratiot. Some residents opposed the signs, believing they sent a negative message about the neighborhood. A grandmother who lived near the vacant structure tore the sign down, believing that the sign accidentally served as an advertisement for street-level prostitution in the neighborhood.
- Mount Clemens Police Department
- Macomb County Sheriff’s Office
- Reverse Stings:
- “Police Conduct Prostitution Sting”, Mount Clemens-Clinton-Harrison Journal, May 14 2003.
- “Sheriff Cracking Down on Drugs, Prostitution”, Mount Clemens-Clinton-Harrison Journal, August 10 2005.
- Neighborhood Action:
- “No Stopping, Standing or Parking; Residents, Police Deliver Tough Message to Prostitutes, Johns that Support Them”, Mount Clemens-Clinton-Harrison Journal, May 7 2003.
- “Anti-Prostitute Sign Gets Mixed Response”, Macomb Daily, February 10 2005.
- “Mount Clemens Residents Hit Street to Fight Prostitution”, Detroit News, June 11 2005.
- “Safety a Matter of Perception in Mount Clemens”, Macomb Daily, July 26 2013.
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Mount Clemens Targets Sex Cases; New Law Would Send Violators to Jail and Charge Them $500”, Detroit News, May 15 2003.
- “Macomb Unites to Fight Crime; Since Deputies Took Over for Mount Clemens Cops, Police Presence Is Seen in Recent Crackdowns”, Detroit News, August 2 2005.
- “Sheriff Targets Drugs, Prostitution in Mount Clemens; Macomb Office Will Start Policing the City July 1 When the 113-Year-Old Police Force Is Disbanded”, Detroit News, May 12 2005.
- “Mae McKenna and Vice in Mount Clemens”, Local History Sketches, Mount Clemens Public Library, 2008.