OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — A recent prostitution sting in Oakland has turned up a surprising new trend, some prostitutes are being forced to rob their clients when they don’t meet their quota.
Oakland has recently been named the city with the highest rate of robberies in the country, with 12 occurring on average each day in 2012. As KPIX 5 found out, the robberies are happening in ways one might not expect.
KPIX 5 followed Lt. Randy Wingate’s team of undercover officers on a series of prostitution busts in East Oakland. Prostitutes and their pimps have been known to tag-team people along International Boulevard, luring johns in and setting them up.
“Prostitutes, they go and they’ll rob the john,” Wingate said.
According to police, if a prostitute has not made enough money, her pimp will force her to target her clients, taking the crime to a whole other level.
“And that level is robbery,” said Oakland Police spokesperson Johnna Watson. “They’ll take their wallet, money out of the ATM, and also their car.”
There is also a new twist. Pimps have been discovered selling whatever is stolen to the next john.
“Looking to capitalize from every angle possible,” Watson said.
KPIX 5 saw this in action. When an undercover officer picked up a prostitute, an alleged pimp tried to sell the officer a stolen laptop. Wingate tried to pull him over, but he got away. Most of the prostitutes who were targeted were not so lucky.
Police said arrests have a domino effect. If the prostitute identifies the pimp, the pimp is usually connected to other crimes, such as drug dealing, shootings, and robbery.
“Over the last eight weeks as we’ve been arresting a lot of pimps and prostitutes, the robberies in that area have completely dropped,” Wingate said.
In the area between Fruitvale Avenue, 65th Avenue and International Boulevard, murders have dropped by 60 percent, rapes by 100 percent, shootings are down in the district by 67 percent.
Officers believe it’s proof that prostitution is no longer just prostitution.
“We see an engine that drives crime,” Watson said.
Police said this is now happening in other parts of Oakland. Detectives are also conducting stings in those neighborhoods as well.
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