Suspected prostitution draws 18 warning letters from Dayton police

The Dayton police Vice Unit this year has mailed 18 warning notices to owners of vehicles seen in parts of the city known for prostitution.

The program isn’t new but has attracted the anger of at least one recipient, a man who contacted this newsroom to complain. The man did not want his name to be used for this story but said he was leaving a Dayton Dragons game and angered that the letter that implied he was engaged in wrongdoing.

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Areas considered potential high-prostitution corridors include sections of East Third Street, East Fifth Street, Xenia Avenue, North Main Street and West Riverview Avenue.

Dayton police responded to more than 60 incidents of prostitution or assisting or promoting prostitution this year, through early July.

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Officers said the letters are sent to people suspected of attempting to solicit prostitution, but the drivers aren’t always the ones who receive them. They can wind up being opened by spouses or by business owners whose vehicles were in the possession of their workers.

The tactic is not unique to Dayton. Other agencies in the United States use the tactic, known as “Dear Johns” initiatives.

Dayton Chief Richard Biehl’s signature is on the letters.

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