Precinct responds to complaints of prostitution in early mornings

Following residents’ reports that they were seeing prostitutes early in the morning, while residents were going to work, the Sixth Precinct has shifted eight uniformed officers from the 6 p.m.-2 a.m. shift to the midnight-8:30 a.m. shift and has them patrolling the areas around the Meat Market, including Horatio, Greenwich and Washington Sts., as well as Grove St. and Sheridan Sq.

The uniformed officers join the precinct’s two prostitution units, which include teams of plainclothes officers working with undercover officers posing as hookers. They are also targeting drugs.

“We’ve got to make it as uncomfortable for them as possible,” said Det. Mike Singer, a precinct community affairs officer. “The times [the prostitutes were operating] changed. We were getting complaints [about prostitutes] for times that we didn’t get before.”

Singer said the prostitutes moved to Grove St. after police hit their operation on Sixth Ave. The hookers south of the Meat Market have been pushed down by the new nightlife activity to the north. When pressure gets too heavy in one area, the prostitutes tend to move.

“Moving around our people is what we try to do, and trying to get there before they get entrenched,” Singer said. Grove St.’s trees make it darker at night, which the prostitutes, as well as drug dealers, like, he said. Singer said there’s an effort to get Grove St. landlords to put in more lighting.

Speaking on Nov. 6, Singer said the precinct had made 293 prostitution arrests year to date, including twenty-six Johns, 16 of whom had their cars seized by police. Year to date, overall crime in the precinct was down 6.2 percent, he said.