Residents Pleased With Prostitution Crackdown - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

05/26/03

Residents Pleased With Prostitution Crackdown

In this section of the beach in West Gulfport, it's common to see sunbathers and perhaps an occasional Elvis sighting.

But right across Highway 90, many see this section as a nuisance complete with prostitutes and their clients.

Gene Taylor works in a nearby gas station and sees the illegal activity on almost a daily basis. He was glad to see Gulfport police doing something to crack down on one of the world's oldest professions.

"They needed to do it a long time ago. They should have done it a long time ago, but I'm glad to see this happening now. It's not good for not only this business but for the neighborhood," Taylor said.

Some West Gulfport residents say they feel like prisoners in their own homes, and there's no limit to what a person can see in the neighborhood.

"Constant traffic coming and going. Girls working out of one of the houses in the neighborhood.  'Johns' constantly dropping off, picking up prostitutes right in front of our houses. Prostitutes and 'Johns' using our yards as bathrooms. Syringes, crackpipes, everything being found around the neighborhood," resident Wayne Watkins said.

They say they can't bring family and friends around because they will get propositioned by prostitutes.

The neighbors' fight against prostitution and the rampant use of drugs is a barrier, but they will not allow it to turn them into cowards.

"I will stay here until this house falls down around my ears before I give them the satisfaction of running me out of this neighborhood. The only plea I have to go out to the people of Gulfport is to get out and support your police department. Help them to stop crime," another resident said.

Captain Pope of the Gulfport Police Department told WLOX news eight people were arrested Thursday night in Gulfport for hiring prostitutes.

Five prostitutes were arrested last week.

Pope says this will be an ongoing operation.

By Karla Redditte

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