Vallejo, CA

Tactics Used

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

Vallejo is a city of approximately 120,000 residents, situated west of Sacramento in northern California’s Solano County, near Fairfield and Benicia. The city has been known for its robust commercial sex trade for decades.  A wide range of local problems and ancillary crimes associated with prostitution have been documented, such as kidnapping, murder, rape, sex trafficking, and robbery.  For example, in 2013, a woman who was working as a street prostitute was enticed into a stolen car, and then was forced at gunpoint to disrobe.  The man fired the gun in the air to intimidate the victim, and then said he was now her pimp.  In 2006, a man was arrested for the 1993 murder of a woman in Sacramento was linked via DNA evidence to the stabbing murder of a prostituted woman in Vallejo in 1988.  In 2011, three men who engaged a prostituted woman were assaulted and robbed by masked assailants when they went to her apartment.  In 2013, a man was arrested and charged with the kidnapping and repeated rape of a woman lured from Kentucky to Vallejo with promises of a modeling career.  Upon arriving in Vallejo, the woman was told that she would be working as a prostitute for the man.  When she refused, the man physically assaulted her and raped her several times, and refused to let her leave the residence.

Vallejo was among the first communities in the U.S. to launch organized neighborhood action that specifically focused on demand, in 1980.  Reverse stings were conducted at least as early as 1985, and the identities of arrested sex buyers were publicized. Neighborhood organizations have been active in working with police and conducting independent efforts to combat demand for prostitution.

Since the 2000s, Vallejo has faced financial problems that have created additional challenges in their anti-prostitution efforts.  Due to budget cuts, the police department eliminated its vice unit, and the downsized police department’s remaining resources are stretched so that reverse stings occur less often.  The city has attempted to compensate for reduced resources through creativity and partnerships with community organizations.  Collaboration with other agencies helps to defray expenses.  For example, in June, 2013 the Vallejo Police Department partnered with law enforcement from the California Highway Patrol, Solano County Sheriff’s Office and Solano County Probation Office during Vallejo’s month-long “Operation Goodwill.”  Pursuant to that operation, the team conducted a five-hour reverse sting operation on June 7, that resulted in the arrest of five sex buyers whose names and ages were released, and whose vehicles were seized and towed.

At one point, a Vallejo Police Department officer and staff from a nonprofit organization, Rosewood House, travelled to San Francisco to observe the First Offender Prostitution Program’s john school, and to meet with program staff.  They recommended that Vallejo adopt a similar model, but reportedly, the District Attorney did not approve of the plan and the city did not move forward on planning a john school.

 

Key Partners

  • Vallejo Police Department
  • Prostitution Task Force, Vallejo Campaign Against Prostitution
  • Neighborhood organizations
    • Fighting Back Partnership
    • Ohio Street Watchdogs
    • Kentucky Street Watch Owls

Key Sources

State California
Type City
Population 115552
Location
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