Paying for sex is illegal and Lubbock Police are now using the internet to catch people allegedly participating in prostitution. So far police have had 162 hits online and made seven arrests, one is even a high profile attorney here in Lubbock. NewsChannel 11's Jennifer Vogel spoke with police about the high-tech sting.
Lubbock police actually put up ads on numerous websites that offer sex through prostitution. They wait for responses, chat with the suspects and then set up face-to-face meeting where they make the arrests. "We don't go out and find people we simply sit and wait and they come to us," says Lt. Greg Stevens of the Lubbock Police Department.
For the first time ever Lubbock police are using a new tactic to try and stop prostitution. This time it's the police that are the online predators, preying on potential criminals. "It's just like patrolling neighborhoods, we have to patrol the internet as well," says Lt. Stevens.
Police put up advertisements offering sex for money. Once they have a buyer, they set up a meeting. So far, there have been seven arrests, one being 51-year-old Charles Dunn, a high profile attorney here in Lubbock. "Are they 110% sure when they read whatever it is on the internet that they are soliciting prostitution?' Absolutely. Absolutely. 'How?' Very specific, you are paying money for sexual activity. 'But how do they know they have the right person when they make the arrest?' There's no doubt in our minds when they show up, that's who came to meet us because of conversations, time/place/date something dressed, what they're driving, all the way down to the eye color," answered Lt. Stevens.
As this investigation continues police say the success of this sting has moved them into a new electronic age of fighting crime. "Of the seven we arrested that's a bare fraction of what's probably out there and were just stepping into doorway and its a pretty big room we're stepping into."
Lubbock police say this investigation is on-going. They are still getting hits off their prostitution ad but they're hoping this sting will lead to catching bigger criminals, like child predators or drug traffickers.