Sweep of Pratt-Monroe areas brings 22 prostitution arrests

January 17, 1995|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore police, responding to complaints from several community groups, swept through the Monroe and Pratt street corridors over the weekend and arrested 22 women on prostitution charges.

Starting Saturday evening and continuing into early Sunday, undercover detectives fanned out over the Pratt-Monroe community and the streets west and south of Carroll Park, targeting what one police commander said were more than 150 prostitutes who work in the area.

"It's a tremendous problem," said Col. Ronald L. Daniel, chief of the Criminal Investigation Bureau, adding that most of the illicit activity is connected to a proliferation of crack cocaine sold on the street corners.

The colonel said police make the sweeps because of numerous complaints from residents and merchants, and to help the women, who he said are at risk for AIDS.

"It doesn't appear to be working," Colonel Daniel said. "I'm sure a lot of these ladies are repeat customers."

The weekend's operation follows a November raid -- the third in a series of major drug busts in the city -- in which more than 250 police officers invaded several communities, including the ones hit over the weekend, and seized guns and drugs.

At the time of the raid, dubbed "Operation Southside," the area around Pratt and Monroe streets was described by police as one of the most crime-infested parts of the city.

Yesterday, Colonel Daniel said the drug activity draws crack addicts to the area, which in turn breeds prostitution.

Saturday night, the undercover officers arrested women who solicited sex from them.

Areas targeted included the 1600 block of W. Pratt St.; the 1500 block of W. Baltimore St.; the 1600 and 1800 block of Ramsey St.; and the 1700 and 1800 blocks of McHenry St.

By yesterday, police said most of the women arrested had been released on personal recognizance by a District Court commissioner, receiving a March 1 court date.

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