Police in Anaheim and Stanton have stepped up their arrests of female prostitutes and their male customers along Beach Boulevard, where authorities say street prostitution has been on the increase since last summer.
Recent large-scale arrests by both police departments have focused on the "Johns"--the male customers who cruise the north-south thoroughfare lined with motels and convenience stores as it passes through the two cities.
In Anaheim, police estimate prostitution arrests this year have increased 20% to 25% over last year at this time. Stanton Police Capt. Leonard Haworth said prostitution has increased in his city but could not estimate how much.
In Anaheim last week, police arrested 16 men between Wednesday and Saturday and arrested three female prostitutes since then, Sgt. Jim Brantley said.
A crackdown a few weeks earlier in Stanton resulted in about 120 arrests, about three-fourths of them men who were soliciting prostitutes, Haworth said.
The latest crackdown by Anaheim police followed complaints from businesses in the area of Beach Boulevard and Ball Road, where prostitutes have congregated.
Of the 16 males arrested, 13 eventually were released on misdemeanor citations and three were booked at Orange County Jail on suspicion of misdemeanor prostitution and additional charges, Brantley said. The additional charges included one man who had a loaded .357 magnum revolver in his car and two men who were wanted for traffic warrants, he said.
In Stanton the City Council enacted an ordinance in late September to prohibit a person or group from renting a motel room twice within 24 hours. The law is designed to prevent prostitutes from renting local motel rooms on an hourly rate, police said.
Since last summer, police in both cities have noticed that the increase in prostitutes working along Beach Boulevard involves many women new to the area, police said.
"For some reason," Brantley said, "this year we've had what seems to be an inordinate number of juveniles (females) arrested. The ages have gone as low as 14.. . . They've all been circuit prostitutes coming into this area to ply their trade."
"Some of them," Haworth added, "have prior arrests in Orange County. However, they appear to be coming from all over the state."