In Vallejo, California a group known as the Kentucky Street Watch Owls takes to the streets in search of prostitutes, not for their services, but to scare them out of the community.
The local neighborhood group has taken it upon themselves to rid their community of prostitution and those who seek the services of prostitutes.
The town has recently become a hot bed for the sex trade. Why? Because the city is broke. Vallejo is an example of an America cash-strapped city doing what it can to survive.
In 2008 the city itself declared bankruptcy and the police force was shrunk by 40 percent. Without police law enforcement and crime deterrents dwindled. With the decline in police forced prostitution rose. The town has become a Mecca, with girls from bordering states and even Mexico traveling to Vallejo to make money. The city has become overrun.
“I leave my house at 7:00 in the morning and sometimes see girls working on the streets that early,” said Kathy Beistel, a block captain of the Kentucky Street Watch Owls. “There’s no peak time – it’s all peak time.”
“I’ve been approached on the street right by my house by johns who thought I was a prostitute,” said local resident Teresa Miller. “I’ll get in their face and yell at them, ‘No, I’m not a prostitute. Go home to your wife!’ Lately, if I walk around at night I try to wear my boyfriend’s clothes and put a hoodie on so I’m not mistaken.”
The Kentucky Street Watch Owls group does their best to rid the town of prostitutes, but not by confronting them. Members actively stand near or watch prostitutes to discourage men and women from approaching them for sex, sometimes they talk to them and carry on conversations. The goal is to hurt the trade to drive the prostitutes out.
The town’s economic troubles began in the 1990’s following the closure of a US Navy yard and were depend by the recent housing bubble and financial crisis. As the recession continues to hinder the city’s operations, the residents must do what they can to preserve their community as crime beyond prostitution also continues to rise.
The group has said they are seeing success, and their combined efforts are bringing the community closer together.
Some good has actually come of this
,” said Beistel. “
I now know almost every neighbor for three blocks around. That’s great