Prostitution Sting Lands 19 in Jail

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The number has now topped 100. Rockford Police have arrested 19 people on various charges of prostitution, bringing the year's total of undercover arrests to 113.

Police worked undercover and arrested 19 people Tuesday. Nine are charged with felony prostitution. The ages of those arrested range from 19 to 48 years old.

Rockford's midtown district is one of the prime locations where prostitutes meet their customers. During the day it's a family friendly business community, but that quickly changes when it gets dark.

"They come out at night after I leave and sometimes when I'm getting off work. I do see some of the women parading up and down the street," Pearl Hawks said.

Pearl Hawks owns Mattie's Four Seasons shop on Broadway. Hawks says arresting prostitutes won't be enough to keep them from returning to the streets once they're let out of jail.

"Some of these people are on drugs and do this to keep up their habit. They maybe need rehab or some type of consultation," Hawks said.

Nine of the women arrested in this sweep are now facing felony charges because they've been caught soliciting before, and police say prostitution isn't the only crime they're bringing into this neighborhood.

"Any way they can get money. They will rob the guys to get money, steal forged checks and way of getting money for themselves," said Lt. Joe Rinaldo of the Rockford Police Department.

Special operations teams are patrolling the midtown district daily to keep an eye out for illegal activity.

"It's bad for the community as a whole, and we want to run them out of the city."

Lt. Rinaldo expects the problem will continue as long as there are men willing to pay for prostitutes in the midtown district, but hopes these arrests send a warning that prostitution will not be tolerated.