STL Cops to End World's Oldest Profession by Publicly Shaming Johns with Postcards

Categories: Crime, Police

According to DemandForum.net, a prostitution prevention website, the first "Dear John" letter campaign dates back to 1982 in Aberdeen, Maryland.

Since then, several other cities and police departments around the country have combined it with a media-shame campaign at one time or another. In 2012, there were 40 police departments using "Dear John" postcards. Other cities have even gotten even more creative with their public-shaming strategies.

In Baltimore County, Maryland, police there informed the suspect's entire community of his or her trial date and encouraged them to come watch. And in Corpus Christi, Texas, convicted johns had to put a "Stop Prostitution" bumper sticker on their car.

And in 2005, St. Louis tried it for a short while, to no great fanfare.

DemandForum.net, which is funded by the National Institute of Justice, says there isn't any statistical evidence that the "Dear John" postcards do any good. But they get some attention -- and they're cheap.

"As criminal-justice interventions go, Dear John letters are inexpensive, requiring just the initial drafting of the letters, and then perhaps fifteen minutes per letter to complete and less than $.50 per letter to mail," the organization's website says.

Although it's cheap and will probably dissuade at least a few potential johns, there are opponents of the practice.

Jeffrey Mittman, Executive Director of ACLU Missouri, says the public shaming policies flout a person's right to a fair trial before punishment is assessed.

"Providing a governmental notice to an individual's home where a spouse, sibling, parent, or child can see an indication that a government is alleging they're engaged in solicitation of prostitution or lascivious behavior when the individual has only been arrested is can clearly have potentially negative consequences on that family prior to that individual having been found guilty of any crime," Mittman tells us.

He adds: "The government should not be in the business of causing harm to families of individuals who have not been adjudicated and found guilty."

Another possible risk is that it causes more harm to prostitutes by pushing them further into the shadows, according to a 2001 study by the John Howard Society, a Canadian organization that deals with crime policy:

"Canadian cities that have implemented these techniques, it is believed to have had a negative effect on the prostitutes. This approach has done nothing but displace street prostitutes from one area to another, often to less visible and more dangerous areas. Violence against prostitutes also increased, as johns who were publicly humiliated, took their anger out on them."

Howard disagrees with this assessment.

"That's not a concern to me. These particular areas have been affected by prostitution for years and years," Harvey says. "I haven't seen any studies that displacing them, how that would put them in anymore danger than they are currently."

Follow Ray Downs on Twitter:

E-mail him at Ray.Downs@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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72 comments
Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

mmmm... there are so few that don't. i do wonder what's wrong with them.

Eric Farlow
Eric Farlow

and you wonder why women don't wanna talk to you

Sara Ivie-Trankler
Sara Ivie-Trankler

All other attempts to stop the sell of pussy have worked so well! I'm sure they've figured out a way to stop what 1000s of years of sexually repressed totalitarians couldn't. Pussy sells, there will always be a market for it. Good luck.

John Taylor
John Taylor

Ridiculous. They need to worry more about getting violent criminals off the streets instead of worrying about what adult women choose to do with their bodies.

Deb Woods
Deb Woods

This is just WRONG. First of all - the City has way more pressing problems than the prostitutes on South Broadway. Secondly, if you are going to "go after prostitution" go after it across the board - in all neighborhoods. Oh - we won't be seeing Johns from Ladue using the high priced hookers? Then this disproportionately targets lower socio-economic people and that's BS!

Nick Terrell
Nick Terrell

They think it's a good idea until they start busting other cops.

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

Prostitution should be legalized, taxed and regulated. The only shame I see here is the simple fact that we live in a country (Excluding Nevada) wherein citizens do not have complete personal sovereignty. If only these STL cops would look into the facts they might learn that if they really cared at all about keeping their community safe, they would be fighting to legalize, regulate and tax prostitution.

Scott Hoffmann
Scott Hoffmann

It's simple supply and demand, fixing that I'd the only way to fix this issue

Jim Simmons
Jim Simmons

Several cities for years post both the "John's" and "working gals" when they are arrested. Not after being found guilty but just arrested. They are still out doing it.

Terry Burk
Terry Burk

It should be legalized. This is archaic.

Jason Coker
Jason Coker

The crack hoes put the prostitutes out of business years ago

Ken Cotton
Ken Cotton

Seems unfair, its like saying they're no longer going to go after the drug dealers, only the people buying the drugs!!

Dean Draig Hodge
Dean Draig Hodge

Maybe police resources would be better applied to "Victimful" crimes like burglary, robbery, fraud, forgery, murder, rape or corruption of government agents instead of victimless crimes.

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

All the cops wives dont realize the favors cops get to let prostitutes off the hook

Mark Rice
Mark Rice

And that counting airport. Cops park rangers,, city Marshall, etc. Etc etc,,,

Mark Rice
Mark Rice

Hire some cops.! A lot of cops. In the 70ies there were 1800 now there down to 1200

Tom Flowers
Tom Flowers

it doesn't seem so public a shaming to me. public would be more like a billboard with their picture.

Terry Henderson
Terry Henderson

why would they want to end something there hands are in even if so they will find other ways to get around it this this nothing new this was started years ago by shaming johns just say its getting in areas they dont want it to

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

but... isn't this a "war on women" by taking their customers away? leading to "income inequality"?

Lauren Rinker
Lauren Rinker

Legalize it. Clean it up, the sex trafficking would slow down, and of course fund sex education with the tax money.

Jeffrey Nunn
Jeffrey Nunn

The stl cops couldn't end a high school kegger much less prostitution.

stlouisx50
stlouisx50

The Johns revenge, posting pictures of the police for being corrupt.

John Bentley
John Bentley

Everybody needs a job in this shitty economy we have to eat..

Jason Charney
Jason Charney

Old and Busted: Slut-Shaming. New Hotness: John-Shaming.

Cest Lavie Boheme
Cest Lavie Boheme

Jaysis legalise it already! "World's oldest profession" isn't going anywhere.

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

This is terrible news! What will dalediversity's mother do if she can't advance in her career?

Eric Wright
Eric Wright

I give anything I own that the captain and his junkie officers are fucking them too. At least letting them sucks their tiny cocks.

Susan Smith
Susan Smith

Stupid! Why don't they do some real POLICE WORK. ???

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

Australia and Canada have proven that legalizing, regulating and taxing prostitution is the best way to decrease the spread of STD's along with the murder rate (:

Joshua Crites
Joshua Crites

So pedophiles cant be singled out but patronizing prostitution is ok

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

well… we can't stop the murders because that's "racist". so… ya… let's crack down on something else.

Patrick Hickey
Patrick Hickey

When people can't suck a dick for money anymore they will just start robbing people.

Laura Dee
Laura Dee

If we legalized and regulated prostitution, the women wouldn't be on random street corners in places like Holly Hills. They would be in special homes where they have protection from pimps and johns who want to hurt them, where they have medical care and where they do their job... also where they get the counceling they need to stay off drugs. Amsterdam has legal weed and prostitution and is just as safe as anywhere in the USA.

ProfessorLindenbrook
ProfessorLindenbrook

Apparently making equitable adult sex illegal has not made it any less popular.

Wouldn't forced adornment of a large scarlet letter suffice?  

It is the underground "illegal nature" of this sex that makes drugs and STD's so prevalent --- not the sex act itself.

The truest whores are the politicians of St. Louis ... they are paid a hell of lot more to do tricks with their tongue than any green-sleeves in Carondelet.


{Post Script--- St. Louis was once a very progressive city. In July 5th, 1870 St. Louis passed a "Social Evil Law" that made prostitution legal.  Establishments were licensed, so were "employees" }

Colin Feeney
Colin Feeney

I've said this before, and I'll be glad to say it again: Prostitution SHOULD be legal, and states could do no worse than to follow the Nevada model, suited to fit a state's own needs and desires.

Brian Lewis
Brian Lewis

Pay attention, people. This guy is thinking.

Speaker222
Speaker222

Where in Holly Hills are there prostitutes?

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