Richmond, IN

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

Richmond is a city of approximately 36,000 residents, located roughly equidistant between Indianapolis and Dayton in Wayne County, Indiana. In an effort to reduce prostitution in the city, the Richmond Police Department has conducted at least two street-level reverse stings.

The two operations were conducted in September 2013, roughly one week apart (on September 7th-8th, and on September 13th). According to the RPD, the investigations were spurred by “at least 10 complaints of prostitution” from local residents and businesses. Both stings employed undercover female officers who posed as prostituted women working along North and South A Streets and between 10th and 15th Streets. Thirteen sex buyers were arrested as a result. During the latter investigation, one sex buyer allegedly “led police on a [90 mph] high-speed chase when police attempted to arrest him,” and the arrest was made when the suspect crashed the vehicle.

In the first of the two reversals, which led to five arrests, officers were on the special detail for about four hours. The undercover decoy worked under the observation of officers stationed on foot and in vehicles in the area. On each occasion after hitting the streets, the decoy was approached within 8 to 10 minutes by men in vehicles wanting to buy sex. Many reportedly drove around several times before stopping. Some offered to pay as little as $10 in exchange for sexual activity, and the typical range was $20-$40 for services from oral sex to intercourse. Some of the men, when told they were under arrest, tried to throw their cars in gear and flee, and were later charged with a felony for using a vehicle to resist arrest, in addition to the misdemeanor for patronizing a prostitute.

The demand-driven initiatives represent a shift in Richmond and Wayne County’s approach to curbing prostitution; when reports emerged of sex trafficking at two local massage parlors in 2008, law enforcement did not arrest “men who [had] paid [the allegedly trafficked] women to perform sex acts and to give them showers, a misdemeanor in Indiana.” According to media reports, the sex buyers were not charged in exchange for providing police with information about the illegal businesses. By contrast, when asked for comment about their fall 2013 operations, RPD detectives stated that “[prostitution] is a public safety disorder issue and a quality of life issue… we had three women come to us and complain that they had been approached by men seeking prostitutes.”

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Indiana
Type City
Population 35817
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