WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - After nearly a dozen new arrests for prostitution in West Palm Beach, some residents wonder if a crackdown can yield long-term results for the city.
Police recently released mugshots of the newest faces that they linked to a persistent problem plaguing some parts of West Palm Beach.
"Really ending it, I don't think that's so simple," said Richard Royster, a West Palm Beach resident.
Royster and others are reacting after the police department's Community Response Team netted nearly a dozen people - women and men - all allegedly connected to street-level prostitution in the city.
"It's the oldest profession in the world so you're not going to get rid of it completely," said Wayne Smith, who lives in the Northwood Village section of the city.
Some of the arrests in the last few days took place near Dixie Highway and others were on Broadway. Right in the middle of those two spots lies Northwood Village, an arts district locals say is surviving in spite of its surroundings.
"Anything bad that happens is usually down the street that way or this way," said Smith. "The more police presence we have here just moves it further and further away from this area."
Northwood residents and visitors are not oblivious to the prostitution that police say is occurring not so far away. This most recent crackdown yielded multiple arrests but some wonder about a big-picture solution.
"The prostitution moves from one area to the other, so now it moves from this area to a different area in West Palm," said Royster.
Most of the accused people were booked in the county jail and then released soon after.
"Many of these women are victims," said Royster. "I can't see them being street prostitutes as a professional choice."
The police department conducts these crackdowns every couple of months and each usually results in multiple arrests. Residents say that is evidence that there is still a lot more work to do.
Arrested by West Palm Beach police were:
• Sirlena Harris (Female – 09/22/66)
• Heather Faber (Female – 09/13/63)
• Vanessa Dykes (Female – 07/18/88)
• Elizabeth McNelly (Female – 09/19/74)
• James Engram (Male – 07/20/62)
• Dyshiema Nims (Female – 06/16/85)
• Tafari Daguiler (Male – 12/21/81)
• Kelly Rys (Female – 02/09/79)
• Tammy Smith (Female – 04/11/69)
• Glenterlin Jenkins (Female – 12/04/73)
• Crystal McGruder (Female – 03/22/80)