Law enforcement has to keep up with the times. Long gone are days that "Wanted" posters were found nailed to trees. Now, law enforcement units are using social media and special apps to help apprehend criminals. In fact, much of law enforcement is crowd sourced, such as Amber alerts that are pushed to smartphones, crime tips that are blasted to Facebook users, and Twitter posts that update citizens about dangerous events.
In Oakland, California, the Oakland Police Department uses a special platform to engage with their citizens. Nixle is a service that was developed by a San Francisco based company to help law enforcement do more and interact more with their community. It is used by more than 6,000 police departments across the nation. Through Nixle, police are able to send alerts, advisories, and community news to text and email subscribers. In January 2012, Oakland began using the platform to let Oakland citizens know of dangerous situations in the community, such as the shooting at Oakland's Oikos University.
Oakland was also the first department to begin using the new "Tip Watch" function, which allows residents to submit anonymous tips to police officers. Now, they are using this function to help gather more information about prostitutes and johns in the area. On April 17,2015, the Oakland Police Department's Special Victims Section announced that they arrested five individuals for solicitation of prostitution. They are currently working to put an end to sex trafficking in Oakland – and since January 1, 2015, they have arrested more than 70 individuals from 27 cities across the state for solicitation of prostitution.
Using Social Media to Lure Johns
In addition to using technology to gather anonymous tips regarding prostitution and solicitation, police departments also use social media to perform online sting operations. Police officers often go undercover on social media platforms and in online chat rooms. They pose as prostitutes or underage boys and girls and often offer to meet somewhere for a sexual encounter. When the "john" shows up at the designated rendezvous, he or she is immediately arrested and charged with soliciting a prostitute or a child sex crime.
Using Social Media to Shame Johns
Oakland is also one of just a few cities that use social media to shame "johns" that have been arrested. Within 48 hours of an arrest for soliciting a prostitute, the Oakland Police Department will blast the information on a new website that they created just last year. They release the john's name, arrest date, date of birth, city of residence and the charge. It will even display the suspect's mug shot with a disclaimer that the arrested individual is presumed innocent until proven guilty. But for those who have been arrested for solicitation of a prostitute – this disclaimer does nothing. Their reputation, their jobs, and their relationships are already in serious jeopardy – long before they ever enter a court of law.
Contact Our Oakland Prostitution Lawyers Today
If you have been arrested for soliciting a prostitute, it is important to know how serious these charges really are. California is in the middle of a massive operation to shine a light on the sex trafficking industry and law enforcement officials are zealously prosecuting johns. If you are facing allegations of soliciting a prostitute in Oakland, Castro Valley, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, or anywhere in the Bay Area, the consequences you face could be more severe than you realize. That is why it is so important to seek the help of an experienced Oakland sex crimes defense lawyer immediately.
Call the Oakland prostitution defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Nabiel C. Ahmed today for a free initial consultation. Call today at (510) 907-6600 or fill out our confidential contact form for more information.