St. Louis Cops Use 'Dear John' Letters to Fight Prostitution

Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 06:42 PM

By Sharon Churcher

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They were devised during World War II to inform loved ones that a relationship was over. But St. Louis police plan a new use for “Dear John” letters: to humiliate “Johns” who prowl for prostitutes.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that men charged with trying to pick up hookers will be mailed postcards admonishing them. The cards will warn them about sexually transmitted diseases and list their court dates.

"Thanks for your visit to...," a template for the cards says, leaving a spot for the location and date of each offense. "The city of St. Louis, its residents and your neighbors would like to remind you that lewd, lascivious and/or suggestive behavior (including but not limited to prostitution, solicitation and prostitution loitering) are a violation of city ordinance and state law."

The penalty for solicitation, a city ordinance violation, is often no harsher than a fine. So, police hope the postcards will serve as an attention-getting deterrent to Johns, whose girlfriends and wives may come up with their own forms of punishment.

In addition, police will provide news media with mug shots of those charged.

The Buffalo News reported last August that police in that city were starting a “Here’s Johnny” campaign to shame men caught with prostitutes by posting full-color pictures of them on the department’s website.

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