Novato, CA

Tactics Used

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

Novato is a city of roughly 52,000 residents, located north of San Francisco in Marin County, California. Cases of prostitution and sex trafficking have been reported in the city, at times involving minors. Media reports have also documented the assault and murder of sex sellers in Novato.

In June 2014, deputies from the Marin County Sheriff’s Office and officers from several county police departments conducted a web-based reverse sting in Novato, San Rafael, Corte Madera and Mill Valley as part of the FBI’s Operation Cross Country. Twenty-two sex buyers were arrested as a result; their identities were not released to the public.

In October 2015, law enforcement reported the completion of a second reverse sting. The operation was reportedly staged at a Novato hotel, and involved the arrest of five johns. Although the details of the sting were not disclosed, the identities of the men arrested were publicized in press. A San Rafael Police Department press release also carried the men’s names, as the operation was conducted in coordination with a similar sting in that city.

Key Partners

  • Marin County Sheriff’s Office
  • Marin County Probation Department
  • Martin County District Attorney’s Office
  • Novato Police Department
  • San Rafael Police Department
  • Sausalito Police Department
  • Fairfax Police Department
  • Mill Valley Police Department
  • Oakland Police Department
  • FBI

Key Sources

State California
Type City
Population 51904
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