Pittsburg, CA

Tactics Used

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

Pittsburg is a city of approximately 63,000 residents, located east of San Francisco in Contra Costa County, California, near Bay Point, Antioch, Concord, and Walnut Creek. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been identified as problems in the city and the surrounding communities, including the presence of  a serial killer who targeted sex sellers in the 1990s.

In their efforts to reduce prostitution, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and Pittsburg Police Department have conducted periodic reverse stings since at least 1998. Operations are typically conducted at street level, using one or more female undercover officers as decoys. The names of arrested johns are not routinely released to the public.

In 1998, media outlets reported that county officials were considering adopting an auto seizure ordinance that would enable them to seize and impound vehicles used for the purposes of solicitation. It is unclear if said ordinance was ultimately adopted.

In February, 2020 the results from the statewide “Operation Reclaim and Rebuild” were announced.  The week-long operation was led by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force and 70 participating federal, state and local law enforcement agencies (including the Pittsburg Police Department) and task forces from across California.  In addition to rescuing and serving victims of sexual slavery and human trafficking and arresting then prosecuting their captors, Operation Reclaim and Rebuild also seeks to disrupt the demand for vulnerable victims by targeting their customers. Investigators focused enforcement operations wherever the trafficking of human beings took place and included street-level and internet-based operations. The operation deployed specially trained cyber detectives who posed as vulnerable teenagers and interacted with suspects on social media, traffickers and customers who sought to exploit and sexually abuse children. Operation Reclaim and Rebuild resulted in 266 male sex buyers arrested for the charge of Solicitation, as well as the recovery of 76 adult and 11 minor victims and the arrest of 27 suspected traffickers. Tin the press release announcing these results, the head of the Task Force said, “To the Johns:  Purchasing commercial sex is illegal and buying sex adds to the exploitation of those involved.”  Downloadable Material: Talking Points and Slides


Key Partners

  • Pittsburg Police Department
  • Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office

Key Sources


State California
Type City
Population 63264
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