ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- It’s a problem that's plagued Rockford's Midtown District for years -- prostitution. Police are now finding they have a partner in keeping the problem at bay.
“You see them a lot, and you know them when you see them,” Calisha Jones, who lives in the Midtown District, says.
Jones says prostitution has gotten so bad on Broadway Street she worries about her own safety.
“I got guys looking at me all crazy, circling around me and stuff and it makes me kind of scared," she said.
Jason Tiesman says it is bad in some areas, but says it's gotten better outside his barber shop near 7th and Broadway. Instead of seeing prostitutes, now all he sees are cops.
"There's actually the cops that walk up and down this block and they come in the shop and we're cool with it," Off the Top Barber Shop Owner Jason Tiesman, said.
Tiesman is one in a group of business owners supporting the department’s efforts to crack down on crime. In fact, some store owners have started calling police when they see prostitutes. Officers say that makes their job easier, especially as the weather warms up.
"It’s easier for them to be out walking so it’s more visual at that point so we'll run some stings throughout the summer to try to limit that," Rockford Police Department Deputy Chief Lori Sweeney, said.
“I think that’s awesome. I think if it’s a problem then they should be out here," Tiesman said.
Calisha Jones agrees.
“You see a lot of police and a lot of undercovers or whatever but they can do a little bit more than what they're doing right now," she said.
Officers have already started making more arrests. Last month in the area surrounding the Midtown District they made 25, that's nine more than the month before, but on the year they've made about 50 percent fewer prostitution arrests.