Local News

Raleigh Police Use Cable TV To Fight Prostitution

Posted September 22, 2003

— If you solicit a prostitute in Raleigh, you may soon find your picture on television and on the Internet. It is part of a Raleigh Police program called Prostitution Dragnet.

In recent weeks, Raleigh police have arrested dozens of men in the area for soliciting an undercover officer for prostitution. Traditionally in the past, efforts to combat prostitution have concentrated on supply and now they are looking at demand.

"Once people realize their pictures are going to be on television if they come down and solicit a prostitute and they get arrested, we hope that would deter some of them from coming down and soliciting. Therefore, the demand will be reduced," said Capt. Dennis Lane, of the Raleigh Police Department.

However, some people wonder if putting the people on TV for the crime goes too far.

"When you're talking about people who have only been charged, you're really walking up to the line in terms of reversing the basic legal principal that people are innocent until proven guilty," said Patricia Camp, of the American Civil Liberties Union.

"In North Carolina, an arrest is public information, so this is information that would be available for any citizen to go down and see in the Clerk of Court's Office," Lane said.

The pictures will also soon be on the police department's Web site. Charlotte started a similar program called "Shame TV" two years ago and police there say they have not had one person re-arrested for prostitution.

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