Los Angeles police and the city attorney’s office are cracking down on street prostitution in neighborhoods adjacent to Sepulveda Boulevard.
Street prostitution has long been a problem in an area of Sepulveda Boulevard that stretches from Lassen Street to Ventura Boulevard.
“LAPD, the city attorney’s office and the council office have always focused a lot of resources on Sepulveda Boulevard and the prostitution problem,” said Tamar Galatzan, a deputy city attorney.
The recent crackdown, however, reportedly stems from a spike in complaints from neighbors who say used condoms are being left on their lawns and people are having sex in parked in cars on their streets late at night.
“I grew up in the Valley and prostitution has always been a problem on Sepulveda Boulevard,” Galatzan said. “What I think is happening is that they are becoming more brazen about it.”
She also suspects that enforcement efforts by police and the city attorney’s office at hotels on Sepulveda Boulevard during the past several years have pushed the problem off the corridor and into adjacent residential neighborhoods.
As part of an abatement effort, motel owners are required not only to get identification from the people renting a room, but also from people going in and out of the room. Previously, a man would rent the room and then two or three prostitutes would come in and out of the room all day, she said.
"Obviously, neither the prostitutes, nor their johns, wanted to give identification, so it has really cut down on the problem," Galatzan said.
In the latest effort, when prostitutes and their customers are arrested they will be prohibited from frequenting the area where they were arrested. If they are arrested a second time in the same area, the penalties will be steeper.
Galatzan said this method of prosecution was used by the city attorney’s office in the early 1990s. She is researching what was done then to help guide current efforts.