Minutes after an undercover detective “cruised for men” through a public park in Reno recently, he was approached by a man and made a deal for sex, reports the Reno Gazette-Journal. They planned to perform sex acts in 15-foot willow bushes that border the park's jogging path. Nearby, children laughed with their mothers and couples walked their dogs. That day, six men were cited by members of a Street Enforcement Team on suspicion of loitering in the park for the purpose to commit a lewd act; seven other men seven other men were cited on the same charge in a previous sting operation last month at the park.
The problem of consensual sex in public parks is a national phenomenon, said Nanette Smejkal of Reno's parks and recreation and community services department. Making the problem harder to combat is a series of Web sites that offer tips on the best parks in which to engage in sex and where the police have been proactive. Sgt. Chuck Kendricks of the police team said the stings do not target homosexuals and are intended to rid the parks of criminal behavior. “These stings are in response to the numerous complaints by citizens who have witnessed this blatant conduct in pubic view,” he said. “The only thing we are targeting is people who come to the park for the purpose of having sex there. That is something that kids and families just shouldn't have to see.” Law enforcement agencies nationwide have conducted undercover operations targeting people who use parks as their bedrooms.