Eight people were arrested Thursday night and early Friday as part of a D.C. police effort to curb one of the city’s most persistent offenses in one of the places where it has flourished periodically for many years.
Four men and four women were arrested on prostitution charges in the area of 12th Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW, a police official said.
“We will continue our efforts in the area in hopes of making a lasting impact on this illegal activity,” said Cmdr. Stuart Emerman, who heads the 3rd Police District.
The intersection involved is south of Logan Circle NW, and between Thomas Circle and Mount Vernon Square.
Efforts to rid that general area of prostitution have gone on for years.
In November 2014, for example, police carried out a two-day operation there targeting prostitutes and customers. They reported 19 arrests between 2:30 p.m. one day and 6:30 a.m. the next.
Such operations have had at least temporary success. After a crackdown in the summer of 1995, a police sergeant took a reporter to 12th and Massachusetts. Normally, the officer said, half a dozen prostitutes would be on each side of 12th, taking customers into a nearby alley. But, he said, “As you can see, they’re not here.” Permanent solutions, however, have proved elusive.
The issue of how to deal with prostitution has been much debated over the years. It has been argued that arrests provide no lasting solution and that the crime is essentially wit hout victims. It has also been held that prostitution may engender other crimes. In addition, people living in areas where prostitution is visible often urge authorities to act against it.
Emerman said police would not abandon their efforts.
“We will continue to address the issue,” he said.