Twelve arrested in Elkhart prostitution sting - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Twelve arrested in Elkhart prostitution sting

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Elkhart police arrested twelve men for patronizing prostitutes in the past 48 hours.

They targeted several areas in the city, but were not specific as to where.

The police department says it's a problem that comes in waves and they were starting to get more complaints from members of the community. That's why it put together the two day sting this week.

"There is a need. The streets need to be safe for our children," say Elkhart resident Penny Osbourne.

Andrew and Cynthia Smith and their neighbor Penny Osbourne have lived in the heart of Elkhart for about five years, and in that time, they've seen a lot.

When they first moved in, it was common to see prostitutes walking the streets of their neighborhood. But now, not as much.

"But they're doing a good job for us controlling it. It's a lot better than what it used to be," say Andrew Smith.

But just this week, Elkhart police officers nabbed these 12 men when they tried to solicit a female officer posing as a decoy during a sting operation.

"It's a crime that we're just not going to tolerate," say an officer with the Elkhart Police Department who was part of the operation and didn't want to be identified.

The police department does operations like these about once a year in different areas of the city and says it's pleased with the progress that's been made. Officers say part of the success is the department's strong relationships with neighborhood associations.

"We try to let them know at neighborhood association meeting which we go to every month any activity they may have, whether it be prostitution, drug activity that they need to work with us and we're trying to partnership with the community at all times," says the unidentified officer.

And community members like the Smiths and Penny appreciate increased police presence over the years.

"We've just been really pleased with the police, the evidence of them being in the neighborhood. You see them drive by quite often," says Cynthia Smith.

"The police are right on it. You know, you call them in the morning and they're right on it and that is just a beautiful thing," says Osbourne.

The operation on Tuesday and Wednesday happened once during the early more hours and another time in the afternoon and early evening. The 12 men arrested were charged with Patronizing a Prostitute, which is a class A misdemeanor.

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