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Nov 22

The Brass Flutes Of Ypsilanti

Comments (2) 12:00 AM posted by admin |

Thanksgiving is traditionally the time when family and friends get together to give thanks and reflect on everything they have. If you don’t have family and friends to get together with, you can always hire a prostitute to be your companion in this time of celebration.

Part of Ypsilanti’s seedy present is that it has a reputation as being a place where one can find and secure the services of said prostitutes. As part of my continuing commitment to public service, I humbly offer you what I hope to become the first in a series of annual reports of what I like to call, “The Dummy’s Guide to Ypsilanti Prostitutes.”

Over the period of time beginning with June and continuing through October of this year, there have been 153 arrests made within the City limits. Of those 153 arrests, 72 came at the corner of Miles and East Michigan. June was the busiest month for arrests in the Miles Street neighborhood with 24, but business was brisk throughout the summer with a solid average of 14 arrests in July, August, and September. October saw a drop to only 5. This could pose a problem for those wishing to find companionship as the weather turns colder.

It should be noted, however, the newly chartered Riverside Neighborhood Association saw a significant increase in prostitution arrests in September and October. The RNA’s 9 arrests during that timeframe rank second with only the aforementioned Miles Street neighborhood doing better business.

The Historic South Side area finished third in arrests over the same time period with 23 from June through October followed closedly by the South Depot Town neighborhood with 21. As I campaigned at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church polling location on North River Street back in August, one of my fellow campaigners pointed out an infamous heroin addict as she turned three tricks that hot August day. I should clarify by saying we didn’t watch as she turned these tricks, but rather we watched as she took her clients behind the church to negotiate services rendered.

Not even Normal Park can say they are immune to the effects of prostitution, but residents there might be quick to point out the single arrest made there was on the border with the Midtown Neighborhood Association.

Sadly, 100% of the prostitution arrests my own Historic East Side Neighborhood Association have come within a block of my house. This can most likely be attributed to the hot zone created on East Michigan Avenune that forces prostitutes north into my neighborhood.

There have been several forums on the increase in property crime in Ypsilanti recently with the most recent being the Monday’s meeting at the Senior Center with Chief Harshberger, County Commissioner Ronnie Peterson, and County Commissioner-elect Ken Schwarz. Many consider prostitution a victimless crime, but when you are finding used condoms in your backyard or on the street in front of your house, someone surely has to be a victim.

The easiest thing you can do as a resident of or visitor to Ypsilanti to help with the challenges we face in fighting prostitution is to STOP COMING HERE TO SOLICIT PROSTITUTES.

While that is probably the most difficult solution to enact, residents should be ever vigilant. Know your neighborhood. Call the Ypsilanti Police Department‘s non-emergency number (734.483.9510) day or night and report suspicious activity.


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  1. Comment by Bob Doyle
    November 23, 2006 @ 8:44 am

    Mr. Robb:

    Your assertion that prostitution is not a victimless crime is spot on. It frustrates me that some in our community comtinue to believe this myth. As an eight year resident of one of your named neighborhoods, I can assure all that there are victims resulting from prostitution.

    The first victim of prostitution is the prostitute herself. In my experience most of the prostitutes in Ypsi are female, so I will refer to them as such while acknowledging that occasionally, they are male. The typical prostitute is a drug addict who does not chose to sell herself as employment, but is forced into the act out of desperation to feed their habit. YPD, treatment advocacy groups, and the courts have been actively advocating drug treatment for active prostitutes rather than jail time; an approach that is clearly right, but difficult to implement.

    The second group of victims are the remaining females that live in or visit the neighborhood. A neighborhood with an active prostitution problem is simply a retail facade for johns to shop at, at least in their minds. We have had 13 year olds solicited while simply walking home, and my wife and others have experienced the same in return for their mistake of being in their front yards. No one likes to feel like their activity is restricted at their own home, yet that is what you resort to in order to avoid being accosted. If you feel that being hounded to provide a sex act with a stranger for money while standing in your front yard is victimless, I suggest you ask a loved one or their mother for their opinion.

    Lastly, the neighborhood is a victim. As prostitution moves into a neighborhood and gains a foothold, the partner crime of drug sales is right behind. At the peak of our difficulties with prostitution, drug dealers moved into several homes with a block or two of ours and commenced business. I can’t tell how frightening and frustrating it is to watch people openly deal drugs 25 feet from your porch, then watch the buyer light up in your neighbor’s bushes as you openly observe them, and then watch that same person scoping out your garage later that day for a chance to lighten your load of material belongings to help pay for their habit. Perhaps you don’t mind the idea of your children playing outdoors while drugs are sold in your front yard, but it makes me a bit uneasy.

    Victimless? Hardly. I am openly and unapologetically thankful that our police department is fighting crime like prostitution.

    Bob Doyle

  2. Comment by rodsmith
    November 26, 2006 @ 11:19 am

    I’ll probably get shot for this, but, where I come from, the neighborhoods that have least problems with prostitutes on the streets have legal (or in some cases “blind eye”)brothels in them. The vice squad makes regular visits to these establishments, the drug squad keeps a close eye on the comings and goings and so the neighborhoods are actually fairly good, safe places to live

    Needle exchanges and drug rehab centers do a lot for cleaning up the streets and the police can then deal more harshly with the degenerates who still insist on doing business on the streets.

    These are unpopular solutions, because they recognize vice as a human, rather than a criminal problem. In my opinion, that is the firststep to reducing the harm that it does.

    They are unpopular, but where I have seen them implemented, they work very well.

    Of course, no-one wants these things in their neighborhood, but if it were my streets filling up with needles and condoms, and my kids being solicited by sleezy Johns, I’m pretty sure I’d want a solution that works rather than a “no hookers” and “say no to drugs” sign on the lamp-post.

    …and I’ll bet the price per capita for keeping an eye on a brothel is a lot cheaper than the $80.00 per day required to keep these folks incarcerated…

    Take Care


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