Muskegon Heights, MI

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

Muskegon Heights is a small city of close to 10,000 residents, situated northwest of Grand Rapids near Muskegon and Norton Shores in Muskegon County, Michigan. Prostitution has posed chronic and visible problems in the community for several years. In 2012, for example, two adults and one juvenile female were convicted of kidnapping a woman involved in prostitution and holding her against her will for several hours at a Muskegon Heights motel. In addition, in May 2015, a john was implicated in two non-fatal shootings targeting sex sellers; on two separate occasions, the man allegedly shot a woman in the leg as “he pulled up to [her] in a car in the early morning hours on Muskegon Heights streets.” One of the victims was described as a “known prostitute” by local media outlets. In separate incidents in 2000 and 2002, cases of robberies and assaults on sex buyers were also documented.

Although demand-reduction efforts in the community remain limited, the Muskegon Heights Police Department has conducted at least one reverse sting targeting johns. In January 2001, the Muskegon Chronicle reported the arrests of four men and one woman following a MHPD prostitution sting in the downtown area. The “four male customers” were issued misdemeanor citations for “soliciting for prostitution.” Their vehicles were also seized and impounded.

A local law enforcement respondent to the 2022 National Assessment Survey reported that community service for arrested sex buyers, public education specifically targeting the demand for commercial sex, and cameras used to deter or collect evidence against sex buyers have been used in the city. The respondent also said that city police have used males as decoy prostituted persons and arrested female sex buyers at least once.

Key Partners

  • Muskegon Heights Police Department

Key Sources

National Assessment Survey, 2022

Sex Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:

  • “4C Digests; Muskegon Heights,” Muskegon Chronicle, June 18 2000.
  • “34-Year-Old Faces Felony Charge after Prostitution ‘Sting’,” Muskegon Chronicle, May 28 2002.
  • “Well-Known Teacher Faces Prostitution, Fleeing Charges,” Muskegon Chronicle, May 27 2006.
  • “Former OV Teacher Enters Guilty Pleas,” Muskegon Chronicle, September 20 2006.
  • “Ex-Teacher Sentenced on Prostitution Charges,” Muskegon Chronicle, October 24 2006.

Street-Level Reverse Stings:

  • “Prostitution Sweep Nets Five Suspects,” Muskegon Chronicle, January 20 2001.

Auto Seizure:

  • “4C Digests; Muskegon Heights,” Muskegon Chronicle, June 18 2000.
  • “Prostitution Sweep Nets Five Suspects,” Muskegon Chronicle, January 20 2001.

Background on Sex Trafficking in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

  • “Extra Heights Police Patrols ‘Sweep’ Area,” Muskegon Chronicle, July 25 1997.
  • “Police Command Officer Faces Sex Charge,” Muskegon Chronicle, September 2 1998.
  • “Detective in Court on Sex Charges,” Muskegon Chronicle, August 4 1999.
  • “Seven Women Face Charges after Prostitution ‘Sting’,” Muskegon Chronicle, August 3 2000.
  • “Six Women Arrested in Prostitution ‘Sting’,” Muskegon Chronicle, September 28 2001.
  • “Police Bust Thirtysomething Prostitutes,” Muskegon Chronicle, May 18 2002.
  • “Police Arrest Five in Prostitution Sweep,” Muskegon Chronicle, July 30 2002.
  • “‘Sting’ Nets Seven Prostitution Arrests,” Muskegon Chronicle, September 10 2004.
  • “11 Women Busted in Prostitution ‘Sting’,” Muskegon Chronicle, February 1 2005.

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Michigan
Type City
Population 9951
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