In America’s larger cities, it costs police departments about $2,000 in man-hours, administrative costs, and other factors to carry out an arrest of a single prostitute, according to a new study.
In 1985, the 16 largest cities in the country arrested 74,550 prostitutes. A little arithmetic reveals that sometimes solving crimes dooesn’t pay, either. Nationwide, law enforcement agencies spend about $120 million arresting and processing hookers.
The purpose of the study was to find the “cost-benefit” ratio if enforcing prostitution laws. It found that while police departments were spending an average of 213 man-hours per day to enforce prostitution laws, incidence of violent crime was on the rise in many jurisdictions observed.
The study suggests that the more highly-trained and specialized vice officers should be moved from the prostitution beat to investigate more violent crimes.
Police officials feel differently. One official said that prostitution is usually one base for violent crime, and when the prostitutes are cleaned out, the violent crime in the area generally drops.
Asked if those violent criminals might not simply commit similar crimes elsewhere, the official said, “I admit that if you chase a rattlesnake away, he won’t disappear. But he won’t bite me.”