Billboard warns customers of Arlington prostitutes

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by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on January 5, 2011 at 11:07 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 7 at 2:51 AM

ARLINGTON — The faces flash every few minutes.

Thousands of people see them on the bright, electronic billboard on the Collins Street ramp off Interstate 30 — the exit you take to get to Cowboys Stadium.

The sign shows the images of four men convicted of trying to buy sex in Arlington.

It's an in-your-face effort to use shame as a deterrent to an expected increase in prostitution tied to the Super Bowl.

Earlier this year, Arlington police trumpeted a campaign to do sting operations by calling sex services that advertise on the Internet.

Grapevine tried Arlington's model on Monday night, and prostitutes quickly showed up at hotels expecting customers.

"Three out of three phone calls, made arrests on them," said Grapevine police spokesman Lt. Todd Dearing. "We would have made more if the last one who showed up was not a juvenile."

Dearing said the sting led them to a 15-year-old runaway from Grand Prairie.

"I think if we had continued that night we could have gone all night and made arrests on every single phone call we made," he said.

Arlington police are not only setting up stings, they're calling adult services and leaving reminders that preventing prostitution will be a priority during Super Bowl week.

And if that's not enough, they hope the threat of public humiliation will put a lid on demand.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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