Five Arrested in Huntington Prostitution Sting

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Huntington Police are targeting prostitutes in the city.

On Thursday night, they arrested five women as part of a sting operation along 6th Avenue between 1st and 6th Streets.

Neighbors said this is a problem that is hurting their homes and businesses. Some have stepped up to push this kind of crime out.

Gary Workman is frustrated with prostitutes lingering along 6th Avenue in Huntington.

"It makes me feel bad about our neighborhood, you know. I mean, where's our neighborhood going?" Workman said.

He works and owns property in that area. He said selling the property has been a hassle because of the crime.

"It hasn't always been a problem because this used to be one of the top-of-the-line neighborhoods in Huntington," Workman said.

That's why Huntington Police said they're doing something about it.

"That's a notorious area for drugs and prostitution. They kind of go hand-in-hand," Huntington Police Capt. Rocky Johnson said.

In a sting operation Thursday night, six undercover officers arrested five Huntington women for prostitution.

Three of them were on their third offense, which is a felony.

"When a girl would flag us down, make a proposition, then they were arrested and brought to headquarters and booked at the regional jail," Johnson said.

Officers said there were no drug arrests as part of the sting. They added, though, that drugs are an issue.

"A lot of the girls that we arrested last night had the paraphernalia, needles and syringes, things like that from where they are using heroin," Johnson said.

But cleaning up the problem takes time, and police said neighbors are helping.

"They're seeing the same girls. They're calling us with a description of these people -- the cars that are actually picking them up, the description of the drivers of these vehicles," Johnson said.

Officers said passing along detailed information like this also can prevent similar crimes in your neighborhood.

Police said they can't arrest their way out of this problem. But they hope these arrests will cut down on these crimes and motivate people involved to find help.

Neighbors said they hope these efforts will mean the crimes will leave their streets for good.

If you have tips for Huntington Police, you're asked to call their anonymous crime tip line at (304) 696-4444.

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