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.
- Reverse Stings:
- “W. Sac Gets Tough on Hookers: Over 200 Prostitution-Related Arrests Made Since July, Police Say”, Sacramento Bee, December 9 1988.
- “Decoys Arrest 16 Men on Charges of Soliciting Sex”, Sacramento Bee, July 24 1990.
- “West Sac Targets Johns in Prostitution Cleanup”, Sacramento Bee, November 21 1995.
- “Prostitution Sting Works in Spite of Police Signs”, Sacramento Bee, May 11 1996.
- “Decoy Cops Help Clean Up Troubled W. Sac Main Drag”, Sacramento Bee, July 16 2004.
- “7 ‘Johns’ Arrested in West Sac Sting”, Woodland Daily Democrat, August 24 2004.
- “10 Solicitation Arrests in W. Sac Prostitution Sting”, Sacramento Bee, March 17 2005.
- “Prostitution Sting in West Sacramento”, Woodland Daily Democrat, May 27 2005.
- “Man Charged for Allegedly Bribing Juror”, Lodi News-Sentinel, October 14 2005.
- “Police Arrest Johns in Prostitute Sting”, Woodland Daily Democrat, October 14 2005.
- “Cop Posing as Prostitute Finds W. Sac Beat an Eye-Opener”, Sacramento Bee, November 26 2005.
- Neighborhood Action:
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Three Area Police Agencies Will Team Up to Battle Prostitution”, Sacramento Bee, January 20 1996.
- “Undercover Deputies Smash Prostitution Ring; 2 Arrested”, Sacramento Bee, March 11 1997.
- “Prostitution Suspects Arrested in W. Sac”, Woodland Daily Democrat, September 9 2004.
- “Five Women Arrested in West Sac Prostitute Sting”, Woodland Daily Democrat, November 17 2005.
- “West Capitol Avenue’s Seedy Reputation”, FOX/KTXL-TV 40, February 25 2013.
- “Police Log: West Sac Crime Calls”, West Sacramento News-Ledger, July 16 2014.
- Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area: