San Francisco police crack down on Polk Street prostitution

An increase in seedy sex deals on Polk Street has led to a major police crackdown on prostitution on the strip, where a pimp and prostitute were shot earlier this month.

Neighbors say the number of sex peddlers working on Polk Street has grown to an alarming level that jeopardizes their safety and efforts to clean up the area.

Their fears were validated the morning of April 3, when a pimp was shot multiple times in the doorway of Bob’s Donut & Pastry Shop at 1621 Polk St. Ricocheting bullets also struck and injured a call girl, police Capt. Ann Mannix said Monday.

“That’s not the only shooting that’s happened related to prostitution in recent years,” said Supervisor David Chiu, whose district includes Polk Street.

Some of the sex acts are being performed in alleyways, said David Villa Lobos, an executive director for the Community Leadership Alliance.

Villa Lobos, who lives on Polk Street, said on Sunday he looked out his window and saw “loads and loads of prostitutes.”

The sex deals hamper efforts during the past decade to spiff up and beautify Polk Street, which is historically known for having a hopping sex trade, Villa Lobos said.

After complaints from neighbors, Chiu said he met with cops, neighborhood groups and the District Attorney’s Office and called for a crackdown.

More cops are on the streets makinging arrests, Mannix said. During a 24-hour period last week, at least four prostitutes were arrested, including a 16-year-old runaway.

In the bust involving the girl, cops also arrested two pimps, which is rare because often prostitutes won’t admit to having a pimp, Mannix said.

As the cops spoke to two call girls, their pimps called their cell phones. The cops got the girls to offer the pimps’ locations. The pimps were soon arrested.

Mannix said 98 percent of sex workers in The City are not San Franciscans.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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