Arrests made in New London prostitution crackdown

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH)– The reverend at the Trinity Missionary Baptist Church says he has had to put no loitering signs on the door and around the church because people have been hanging out on the stoop and drinking.

But the activities go beyond that. He says some of the women also flag down cars promoting prostitution. A quality of life police are hoping to improve on Blackhall and Truman streets.

Joe Ortiz who lives in the area says, “I seen a lot of different people in the neighborhood, I mean I don’t know there’s a lot of different people I’ve never seen before. But I don’t know what’s going on.”

Others though say they know what’s going on.

Melody O’Donnell who used to live on Blackhall Street says, “it’s been non-stop and you know you got guys drive by and just because you’re walking down the street and being a female they think you’re a prostitute.”

The acting police chief has seen it too. Women waving him over as he drives through the New London neighborhood in an unmarked car right in the middle of the day. Police performed an under cover sting operation and arrested five women for selling sex, which often goes hand in hand with drugs.

Acting New London police chief Peter Reichard says, “we have had reports that one of the locations where the prostitutes were living is a known drug house also.”

The women arrested were from Plainfield, Gales Ferry, East Lyme, and New London but they were all picked up in this one neighborhood where getting flagged down by a prostitute has become more common in the past month. Undercover cops pose as johns to put a stop to it.

Acting Chief Reichard briefly talks about what the under cover cops do when the women wave them over, “pulled over and can’t go into more detail into what took place cause the cases are still pending and part of it is law enforcement sensitive.”

Police say this is just phase one an they’ll continue to crack down on the prostitution problem. As far as those undercover operations go – officers may also target the so-called johns who patronize the prostitutes.

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