If you happen to like cruising down Parker Street N.E. looking for hookers, here’s a warning: The D.C. police department could end up sending you an embarrassing letter.
Some time ago, ANC Commissioner Tony Richardson complained to the mayor’s office that Parker Street, which is amid the H Street N.E. corridor, was being overrun by prostitutes. Results ensued: The department declared the vicinity a prostitution-free zone for ten days and then increased patrols. The streetwalkers migrated elsewhere.
But these days, Richardson has reason to complain again: "We were very successful for like eight or nine months," he says, "but then they came back." Starting in June, Richardson claims, sex workers began reoccupying his block.
Since then, he and other residents have met with police to brainstorm tactics. One plan that’s been agreed upon, offers Richardson, is for neighborhooders to start exposing johns by jotting down the license plate number of any car that seems to be in the area looking for paid sex. The police department will then send the owner some mail: "The letter would say your vehicle was seen at this time -- in a high prostitution area," informs Richardson. "It’s been done before," he says. "They used it in Logan Circle a few years ago."
Commander David Kamperin of the department’s First District cautions via e-mail that the plan is just in the beginning stages. "They are working with it," he writes. Kamperin also makes the letter seem more courteous than exposing. "The concept was to provide a list of tag numbers cruising the area -- an informational letter would be sent to the owner saying their car was observed in a high crime area ensuring that they were aware of its whereabouts etc."
Photo courtesy of Oran Viriyincy