North Laurel, MD

Tactics Used

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

North Laurel is a census-designated place of approximately 21,000 residents, located near Laurel and Jessup in Howard County, Maryland. Situated between Route 1 and Interstate 95, it is one of several unincorporated areas in the vicinity that are known for prevalent street- and hotel-based prostitution and sex trafficking.

To address the issue, the Howard County Police Department began conducting street-level reverse stings in North Laurel in the mid- to late 1990s. Currently, reverse stings are conducted several times a year, at times netting upwards of 20 johns in a single operation. In their efforts, police report that investigations are frequently spurred by complaints from local residents. To deter other would-be offenders, the HCPD routinely releases all arrested johns’ names, ages, and other identifying information to the public.

In 2012, three large scale reverse stings were conducted in coordination with multiple agencies, resulting in the arrest of 32 men. Following the success, Howard County Police Chief William McMahon said that” [the HCPD] welcome[s] the opportunity to partner with other agencies in our efforts to send the message that Howard County will not tolerate prostitution.”

Key Partners

  • Howard County Police Department
  • North Laurel Police Department
  • Maryland State Police
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations

Key Sources

State Maryland
Type City
Population 22447
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