Police: foreclosures lead to prostitution increase

By Juan Carlos Fanjul - bio | email

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.(WFLX)-- Just like the U.S. Postal Service, bad weather doesn't seem to deter deliveries of another kind: sex on the streets.

On Tuesday afternoon with a looming tropical system, West Palm Beach police rounded-up 12 people on charges of prostitution and/or solicitation of prostitution.

"It started to become a big problem again recently. Probably over the last 30 to 60 days," said Sgt. Wendy Detter.

Officers say escalating foreclosures, especially in the city's north end just off Broadway are a main reason for the increase.

Abandoned homes tend to attract prostitute squatters.

Also, less people living in the neighborhood means fewer concerned neighbors keeping an eye out on the problem.

44-year-old Louis Hall of Boynton Beach says he was simply minding his own business driving down Dixie south of Belvedere when he claims he was accosted by the bogus prostitute.

"Somebody was trying to solicit me. I didn't do anything. I kept going. Yeah, she got in front of the car and I was sitting right there," he said.

Hall was charged with solicitation of prostitution. City police also picked up 4 accused prostitutes.