Ventura, CA

Tactics Used

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

Ventura is a coastal city located north of Los Angeles, near Oxnard, and has a population of roughly 100,000.  The city is the cite of well documented problems with sex trafficking and prostitution.  The city is also one of the locations in which a serial rapist and murderer specifically targeted women engaged in prostitution: the famous “Night Stalker” case resulting in at least 10 murders linked using DNA evidence, active from 1979 through the 1980s (the perpetrator has never been identified).

To combat persistent and longstanding problems with commercial sex and sex trafficking, the Ventura Police Department has conducted reverse stings periodically since at least 1989.  For example, in 1998 the Ventura Police Department placed a woman undercover officer who loitered on a two block stretch of Thompson Boulevard.  Within 35 minutes, they had arrested six males – ranging from a 16-year-old boy to a 77-year-old man – who had attempted to buy sex.

The identities of arrestees are not typically publicized.  The city has the power to seize autos used in the commission of a crime, and they sometimes apply this sanction to arrested sex buyers.

The city also has a court mandated HIV/AIDS education program for those deemed in need of it – and those arrested for prostitution may be required to attend.  We do not regard this to be a john school program since it is restricted to health education and is not specifically designed to address the issues of sex buyers.

Key Partners

  • Venura Police Department
State California
Type City
Population 103219
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