Police Cracking Down on 11th St. Prostitution

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A busy section of Rockford filled with homes and businesses is attracting some unwanted visitors.

People who live and work around 11th St. say prostitutes are starting to show up.

Cashier Bethany McKinley stays busy at the Citgo Gas Station on 11th Street, just south of Harrison. While customers come and go she had problems keeping some unwanted guests out.

"They'll ask the customers, you know, make it seem like they're asking for a cigarette, and we all know what they're really asking for," McKinley said.

She says the ladies don't come in anymore, but they're still in the area.

"You still see them walking past to get to their journey wherever they're going," McKinley said.

Others, like Chadwick Freeman, have noticed as well.

"Now between like Charles Street and Harrison you'll see seven, eight, nine. It's gotten pretty bad," Freeman said.

Rockford Police say they started getting calls a few years ago about prostitutes in the 11th Street area from Harrison to Sandy Hollow. It’s an area officers patrol on a regular basis, hping to prevent problems like they see in the nearby Broadway corridor.

"Prostitution like other crimes is mobile, so if they feel pressure in a certain area they may move, but we keep our pressure, we keep our enforcement efforts uniform across that part of the city so we can reduce it overall," Assistant Deputy Chief Doug Pann said.

McKinley says she sees a big difference since police started coming around.

"It’s working, they're doing a good job of it," she said.

Those who live in the neighborhoods around 11th Street aren't so sure.

"They'll hit the side streets and post up at gas stations where you can't see them on the main street but they're more off on the side," Freeman said.

As the weather warms up police say more prostitutes start coming out so officers do more undercover stings in the summer months. Two weeks ago officers arrested six women during one of those operations.

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