Pasco Prostitution Sting - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Pasco Prostitution Sting

PASCO, Wash. - Pasco police arrest four men who thought they were picking up a prostitute, but it turns out the hooker's handcuffs also came with a badge.

Over the years, in downtown Pasco, police have arrested a lot of men pulling out their pocket books for prostitutes. Officers made four more arrests there Saturday night, but police said it's not as bad as it used to be.

Men willing to pay money for sex know the downtown area is the place to do it. Local businesses have complained about it. Saturday night Pasco Police disguised an officer as a prostitute to catch men in the act and made four arrests.

That may seem like a lot to some, but police said they used to arrest many more.

"If we were sitting here speaking here 10 years ago you'd see arrests somewhere in the 20 mark for one night," said Capt. Jim Raymond, Pasco Police Department. 

Now, on average, police make only one prostitution arrest a month. Compare that to the mid 1990's when officers arrested 100 people a year, it's quite a drop off. And local business owners said police have a done a fantastic job getting rid of the problem.

"Compared to then and now it's a 100% difference. We have a lot cleaner streets, a lot neater people and people feel a lot safer," Jack Van Dinter, The Library Tavern.   

"Now I don't worry about it. They caught up, that shows they're doing a good job. It's less on my worries," said Cel Gonzalez, Ace Barber Shop.   

But police said they can't take all the credit. They said one big reason downtown Pasco is safer, many questionable businesses have left. With the addition of the Pasco Farmer's Market, downtown streets are more family friendly.

"The whole dynamics of that downtown area has been a change to the good," said Capt. Jim Raymond.   

Police said now instead of having to drive prostitutes out, all they have to do is make routine checks to keep these streets safe.