Palmer Township, PA

Tactics Used

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

Palmer Township is a community of about 17,000 residents, situated in the Lehigh Valley near Bethlehem Township and Easton in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. In an effort to reduce prostitution in the township, local police have conducted at least two reverse stings.

The first known operation was conducted in November 2013, in response to complaints from staff at a local motel.  There was a reported local increase in several types of crime in mid-2013, including prostitution, drug activity, theft from rooms, and a robbery at the front desk. Palmer Township Police Department responded by deploying a “Suppress Prostitution and Related Crimes” operation at the motel. Eight men and seven women were charged with crimes including prostitution, patronizing a prostitute, and possession of controlled substances. The number of johns arrested was not identified in news reports.  Assisting Palmer Township police in the operation were police from nearby Bethlehem Township and Forks Township, Colonial Regional Police, the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office (who sent an undercover female deputy to serve as a decoy prostituted woman), the Allentown office of the FBI, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

In December 2018, another reverse sting resulted in the arrest of five male sex buyers in Palmer Township, and their identities were included in news releases. The men, responding to an online advertisement placed by police, and each made an arrangement via phone to meet at a township location and provided $100 to an undercover police officer creating a “verbal agreement of sexual activity.” Once the agreement was made, each man was taken into custody, police said. The men were identified and eventually released to await mailed court papers showing arraignments and preliminary hearings scheduled January, 2019 in District Court.  All the charges were third-degree misdemeanors, indicating first offenses.

Key Partners

  • Palmer Township Police Department
  • Bethlehem Township Police Department
  • Colonial Regional Police Department
  • Forks Township Police Department
  • Northampton County Sheriff’s Department
  • FBI
  • Department of Homeland Security
State Pennsylvania
Type City
Population 16809
Location
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