The other day Greg Anthony, a basketball analyst for CBS and former NBA player, was arrested at a DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Washington D.C. and charged with solicitation of a prostitute “through the use of a computer”.
The article I read also stated that the D.C. police have arrested about 700 people in the past year for the same offense through various sting operations, and that this was an increase in the number of such arrests from the year before. Simple math tells us that means tens of thousands of people each year are being arrested for the same offense through countless police sting operations in the United States.
I read the article with contempt, but my contempt wasn’t for Mr. Anthony. It was for the D.C. police department. I have no particular sympathy for Mr. Anthony. He’ll have to sort out his actions with his family and his conscience. But given the continuing wave of violent crime in major cities across the country, it’s truly discouraging that police claim they don’t have the resources to fight crime yet continue to expend valuable financial and human resources on prostitution stings.
First let’s understand the nature of the crime. Apparently if I make contact with a woman on the internet, meet up with her at a hotel and have sex with her for free that’s not a crime. In fact that makes me a baller. But if I make contact with a woman on the internet, meet up with her at a hotel, have sex with her and then pay her, I’m a criminal. That’s lunacy.
I’m not advocating for or against prostitution. However, when it comes to the legalization of prostitution, the statistics are clear and unambiguous. In places where prostitution is legal and regulated, the incidence of STDs decreases dramatically, as does the incidence of violence against prostitutes and for that matter, violence generally against women including rape, sexual assault and domestic violence.
Laws that make prostitution illegal aren’t designed to foster the public good. They’re vestiges of our Puritan ancestry, and our elected officials like them because these laws allow them to say they’re “tough on crime” come election time. Meanwhile, real crimes are on the rise and genuinely dangerous criminals run free because police are sitting in hotel rooms waiting for johns to pull out their cash (well, and other things).
Not long ago, a friend of mine was home alone late one night. He was reading in his study when he heard someone break into his house. He immediately called 911 to report the home invasion in progress. By the time the police arrived almost forty (!!) minutes later, he had been hogtied, pistol-whipped, locked in a closet, and most of his cash and valuables had been stolen. The perp was long gone.
My friend is lucky to be alive, but they’ll never catch whoever did it. Unless of course the perp stops by the DoubleTree downtown and tries to pay for sex. Then they’ll nail him dead to rights.