Neighborhood Assessment of Prostitution as a Pressing Social Problem and Appropriate Responses: Results From a Community Surveyedit
Concerns arising from three Baltimore, Maryland community groups advocating for more effective responses to prostitution led to the creation of the Specialized Prostitution Diversion program (SPD), a therapeutic model within the traditional criminal justice system. This mixed methods study used survey, interview, and field observations to ascertain neighborhood concerns about prostitution. Findings show that one neighborhood is notably different from the others in that respondents consider prostitution less of a problem, are less likely to believe police should respond to prostitution, and are less likely to indicate that prostitution causes a nuisance or could lead to additional criminal behavior. Neighborhood residents’ assessment of appropriate responses to prostitution, however, was not significantly different. Most believe that jail and/or treatment are appropriate for individuals engaging in prostitution, suggesting community support for hybrid responses combining punitive and rehabilitative components such as the SPD, regardless of the types or level of concern about prostitution.