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Prostitution is sometimes called a victimless crime, but that’s not true, according to Det. Barbara Harper from the NYPD vice squad.
Harper spoke about her job at the recent 67th Precinct Community Council meeting.
“It [prostitution] is not really a victimless crime, because people have problems in the neighborhood with street walkers and the things they bring in,” said Harper.
“It’s not a direct crime on them, but it attracts a poor quality of persons into their neighborhood, which can lead to other crimes in the neighborhood,” she added.
Harper said the vice squad has between 40 and 50 cops, and they fight prostitution, untaxed cigarette and liquor sales as well as illegal gambling dens throughout all of Brooklyn and Staten Island.
In Brooklyn South, he said, most of the prostitution is focused in Coney Island and Sunset Park. He said the squad has undercover female police officers out there, but a ‘John” has to approach them before a bust is made, she said.
“It’s fun being out on the streets, and different than patrol when you’re constantly answering stress calls,” said the 10−year veteran.
“You feel like you’re approaching the streets on a different level,” she added.
Harper said the 67th Precinct, which covers East Flatbush, does not have much, if any prostitution, but there is some concern over illegal social clubs and backyard barbecues where liquor is sold illegally.
These illegal clubs and backyard parties are also a source of many of the shootings in the precinct, said Harper.
In regard to gambling, Harper said it is not illegal to gamble with friends or have poker games with buddies.
“When you have gambling where someone’s taking cuts of the house profit, that’s illegal,” she said, adding that street numbers games attached to the lotto numbers are also illegal.
Meanwhile, police sources in the 60th Precinct, which covers Coney Island and Brighton Beach, report that prostitution is down for the year in that jurisdiction.
The conditions unit at the precinct has done multiple operations, sometimes twice a week, in areas with high traffick from street walkers, said police sources.
Sources said these areas include Brighton 6th, 7th and 8th Streets as well as Surf Avenue along West 21st and 25th Streets.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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