Police officers from four Orange County agencies made 56 arrests of street prostitutes and their male customers during the first coordinated crackdown in recent years, authorities said Monday.
"The agencies decided to try to coordinate efforts to avoid having one vice detail push the problem to another jurisdiction," said Santa Ana Police Lt. Michael Foote.
With undercover officers and female decoys, officers from Anaheim, Garden Grove and Santa Ana joined with sheriff's deputies over the weekend to arrest 30 women on prostitution charges and 26 men on charges of soliciting a prostitute. Both charges are misdemeanors.
One woman was arrested for assaulting a police officer in Anaheim.
Most of the arrests were made along Harbor Boulevard, a long thoroughfare through Anaheim, Garden Grove and Santa Ana. Meanwhile, sheriff's deputies conducted similar arrests along Beach Boulevard near Stanton, Foote said.
"It's the first time we've coordinated such an enforcement program in some time," Foote said.
Although the program is continuing, Foote said the weekend effort was initiated by the reappearance of street prostitutes, who perhaps had been forced from the Stanton area where police and sheriff's deputies have stepped up enforcement.
"Orange County has had a problem with street-level prostitution going back several years. We decided that on Friday and Saturday nights we would go in those areas if activities in those jurisdictions seemed to warrant it," Foote said.
For instance, Anaheim police conducted a sweep aimed at circuit hookers--women, Foote said, who travel major urban cities in search of customers.
In Santa Ana, however, they decided to use female decoys and targeted male customers.
Despite the arrests, Foote did not claim the program was successful.
"They could be out there this weekend. Although we made a lot of arrests, it remains to be seen how successful we were," he said.