West Sacramento, CA

Tactics Used

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

West Sacramento is a city of approximately 49,000 residents, located just across the Sacramento River from the city of Sacramento in Yolo County, California. The city has struggled with persistent street prostitution in the downtown area for over two decades. Local residents and law enforcement have also reported other problems related to prostitution, such as the robbery of johns and repeated harassment and solicitation of female residents from sex buyers in some city neighborhoods.

Following its official incorporation in 1987, West Sac began tackling the issue by conducting frequent street-level reverse stings. These early operations were often large in scale, and utilized both male and female decoys to arrest prostituted women and johns simultaneously. One initiative, undertaken in late December 1988, resulted in the arrest of over 200 individuals for prostitution-related offenses.

To maximize resources, the West Sacramento Police Department has at times coordinated with members of the Sacramento Police Department and Sacramento & Yolo County Sheriff’s deputies. The departments have at time traded undercover officers to avoid recognition in sting operations. In 1996, the WSPD, SPD and SCSD announced they would begin sharing surveillance equipment for anti-prostitution investigations.

To deter other would-be sex buyers, West Sac police release the names and identities of arrested johns to the media. Arrest information may be distributed in a WSPD press release, and/or publicized in local newspapers.

Key Sources

State California
Type City
Population 46492
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