Petersburg, VA

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

Petersburg is located in southeast Virginia, about 25 miles south of Richmond, and has a population of approximately 33,000. Prostitution has been identified as a substantial problem in the city, generating complaints and collateral crimes. Its location along major interstate highways 85 and 95 have contributed to the city serving as a stop on domestic sex trafficking circuits.  In an effort to reduce the demand for commercial sex, police conduct reverse stings and may impose SOAP orders to restrict arrestees from being in areas of the city known for prostitution. In addition, Virginia law requires those who are convicted of soliciting for prostitution to submit to an HIV test and participate in counseling about HIV and the transmission of infectious disease. Examples include a 2009 operation in which more than a dozen men are under arrest for allegedly soliciting sex in exchange for money. The arrests were part of an undercover prostitution operation along the Jeff Davis highway corridor in Chesterfield County. The sting unfolded over a weekend.  Female police officers posed as prostituted persons over a two day period, and the decoys were approached by men who allegedly requested sex in exchange for cash. Those arrested in the sting had their identities disclosed publicly. Fourteen men were arrested, on charges including solicitation for prostitution, use of a vehicle for solicitation of prostitution, resisting arrest, and indecent exposure.

Key Partners

  • Petersburg Police Department
  • Petersburg City Council

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

SOAP Orders:

  • “Petersburg Gets Crime-Zone Law,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 2 1997.
  • “Ordinance Geared toward Drug-, Prostitution-Free Zones,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 16 1997.

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

  • “Petersburg Officers Investigated, Some Disciplinary Action Already Taken,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, September 16 1992.
  • “Petersburg Police Charge 3 Women with Solicitation,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, November 14 1992.
  • “Petersburg Police Officer Cleared by Grievance Panel,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 18 1993.
  • “Testimony Is Puzzling, Petersburg Police Story Far from Over, Attorneys Say,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 1 1993.
  • “Petition for Officers Circulating; Reinstatement, Pay Sought in Petersburg,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, November 12 1993.
  • “Petersburg Officers File Suits over Suspensions,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 7 1993.
  • “Police Officers’ Appeal Rejected, 2 Had Been Suspended by Petersburg,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 20 1994.
  • “Petersburg Rises against Crimes at Hotels,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 8 2002.
  • “3 Petersburg Motels Hit with Injunctions,” Petersburg Progress-Index, March 20 2008.
  • “Residents Discuss Ways to Fight Crime; Drugs, Prostitution Are Topics of Concern; Police Chief Vows Improvement,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, April 13 2008.
  • “Petersburg Pushes ‘Nuisance’ Businesses to Implement Changes,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 29 2008.
  • (2022)
State Virginia
Type City
Population 33429
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