Prince George's Co. police to live tweet prostitution sting - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Prince George's Co. police to live tweet prostitution sting

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It may be a first of its kind approach in crime prevention. Prince George's County police say they will live tweet a prostitution sting.

The sting is set for some time next week, but for obvious reasons, police won't say much about how it's going to go down. What is known is officers will take photos of suspected johns and give them some instant notoriety on Twitter.

If you are soliciting a prostitute in Prince George's County, the police’s Vice Unit wants you to know officers will be conducting a sting operation next week.

Not only will they make arrests, the photos and information of suspected johns will be posted on the department's official Twitter feed in real time for anyone to see and can be searched using #PGPDVice.

“A suspect's name, age, the city in which they live, and a photo could be released,” said Prince George’s County Police spokesperson Julie Parker.

“We want to send the message that we don't want the johns to come to Prince George's County to do this kind of business,” Parker added.

This is no doubt a progressive crime fighting move, and if police officials are correct, the live tweeting will be unprecedented.

“We did our research and we could not find another example of this sort of event taking place,” said Parker.

HIPS is a local non-profit that promotes the health and rights of people impacted by sexual exchanges, including prostitutes.

“You're now taking something the entertainment industry has done as entertainment like ‘Cops’ or other reality TV shows and law enforcement is actually doing it themselves now,” said HIPS Executive Director Cyndee Clay.

She thinks live tweeting the IDs of suspected johns is a bad idea.

“They have potential to lose their income, to lose their housing, to lose their families, and that's not a good community approach to addressing any issue,” said Clay.

The suspected johns won't be the first to be tweeted out by Prince George's County police. The department routinely tweets out suspect photos and information in all sorts of crimes, like breaking and entering, robbery and murder cases.

What is different with next week's sting is the immediacy of the tweets.

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