St. Louis Revives ‘Dear John’ Tactic Against Prostitution


St. Louis police are reviving a push to target — or perhaps humiliate — those prowling the streets for prostitutes with “Dear John” postcards, reports the city’s Post-Dispatch. “Johns” charged with trying to pick up prostitutes will receive admonishing postcards by mail. “Thanks for your visit to…” the bright postcards say, leaving a spot for the location and date of a crime. “The city of St. Louis, its residents and your neighbors would like to remind you that lewd, lascivious and/or suggestive behavior (including but not limited to prostitution, solicitation and prostitution loitering) are a violation of city ordinance and state law.”

Police are rolling out the program this week in two neighborhoods, Carondelet and Holly Hills, where residents have complained of prostitution. Police say they will provide local news media with mug shots of those charged with prostitution crimes. The postcard approach was last used in St. Louis in 2005. Other cities have also tried it, including Baltimore, Oakland, Calif., and Sanford, Fla.

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