17 arrested in prostitution sting in Main South neighborhood.


Byline: Scott J. Croteau

WORCESTER - Hours after community activists and property owners in Main South complained about prostitution and called for police to take more action, 17 people were arrested in a prostitution sting.

According to police, the vice squad conducted the sting in the Main South area from 8 p.m. Wednesday until noon yesterday.

"This operation was planned during the early summer months, based on information provided by local residents," police said in a news release.

Police noted that 21 people were arrested during a July sting operation. As resources become available, more stings will be conducted, police said.

In a news conference Wednesday, District 4 City Councilor Barbara G. Haller and William T. Breault, chairman of the Main South Alliance for Public Safety, said prostitution is unacceptable and they want police to address the problem.

Although the community activists understand the police force is down more than 60 officers, they hope the Wednesday night sting is not just a one-time thing.

"We hope they keep it up," Mr. Breault said. "I think that's what we are looking for. We need that stepped-up enforcement. It is a quality-of-life issue."

The Main South neighborhood doesn't have to put up with prostitution, Mr. Breault said. Drug activity and prostitution is an ongoing problem and the community wants it to be addressed, he said.

A call to action will be issued to neighborhood residents as well, and reinforced at a Main South Community Development Corp. meeting at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in the board room of the group's center at 875 Main St.


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