Technology, Tips Lead Lexington Police to Prostitutes
As alleged prostitutes have taken to the Internet to advertise their services, police say it’s become easier to use that same technology to track them down.
The arrest last Friday of three women allegedly selling sexual favors on top of traditional massage therapies was the fourth time in since last June the Lexington Police Department has arrested a person or persons on prostitution related charges.
While the arrests made last June and July, and in January of this year, were of alleged prostitutes staying for a while in rented apartments or hotel rooms, last week’s charges were brought against women working out of businesses here in town.
Prostitution arrests are not particularly common in Lexington, and the four incidences, which resulted in the arrest of seven individuals, are not necessarily an indicator of increased vice activity, according to police. Rather, police said, as alleged prostitutes have taken to the Internet to advertise their services, it’s become easier to use that same technology to track them down.
“It comes in different forms, from the massage parlor-type businesses to people getting hotel rooms and actively advertising," said Lt. Det. Michael McLean. "Although we have limited resources, the Lexington Police Department will do everything in our power to investigate vice and illegal activity, to arrest the perpetrators and stop the activity. Why we’ve had a little more success is because technology has gotten better in terms of being able to track things down through an officer sitting at a laptop."
Indeed, in each of the four stings since last June, police have noted finding the alleged prostitutes advertising their services on websites like craigslist and backpage.com.
That’s not to say the online ads were the only indicator. Last week’s arrests came after citizen complaints and information from another agency, and the arrest of a transgender prostitute last July was precipitated by a tip from a hotel employee who reported an unusual amount of traffic in and out of one room.
“We take these things seriously and we do what we can to deal with it,” said McLean. “[Prostitution] is a statewide problem as well, and departments have been very good sharing information with each other and dealing with these problems.”
According to McLean, the police department has limited resources to look into vice activities, and can only be successful with the cooperation of the public. Anyone with any information about potential illegal activities can email firstname.lastname@example.org or PoliceInfo@lexingtonma.gov.
Information in this report was provided by the Lexington Police Department. An arrest does not indicate a conviction.