Prostitution crackdown brings arrests but not change

This woman was back on the street after 82 prostitution related arrests in a two day period.
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Richard Essex/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - More than eighty people arrested in just two days, and police say all are suspected of prostitution or soliciting a prostitute. Neighbors are blaming drugs and landlords.

IMPD recorded 82 arrests in just two days, most of them along the East Washington Street Corridor and at busy intersections.

All of the arrests, police say, were for trying to buy or sell sex. 

And just a day later, in broad daylight along East 10th Street, 'Ivory', her street name, is working the street.

'Ivory' told us "To get high I draw disability. I pay all my rent. I pay all the bills and stuff,  you know to get high just like everybody else around here."

And she's not alone. She pointed out several other all doing the same thing.

She says in the 15 years she has been on the street she has been arrested for prostitution five times, twice this year. And she see's little reason to stop now.

Police say over the past several years that prostitution on the eastside has spiked and one of the main reasons, they say, is drugs.

On East Prospect the problem is the same: drugs and prostitution.

Lewis Tribvett and his uncle have been running a construction company out of a building on Prospect for 30 years. The problem, says Tribvett, is prevalent. "Around here it's seven days a week, 24 hours a day anytime you want to come down this street they are out there."

They say at times prostitutes have come right in the front door.

"They will ask you flat out if you are interested in making a date that's the way it is here on Prospect and it's been that way for years," said Tribvett.

Over the years neighbors say the problem has only increased but it has not gone unnoticed by the police.

Beth Shaffner lives in the area. "You can't walk down the street by yourself without a police (officer) stopping you thinking you are a prostitute."

Neighbors say until landlords clean up broken down houses, a favored hideout for drug dealing and prostitution, the problem will only continue.

The 82 people arrested could face a $5,000 fine and one year in jail.