LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — Was it a successful crime deterrent or a failed publicity stunt?
Last week’s announcement that Prince George’s County Police planned to live tweet a prostitution sting was met by plenty of backlash. Despite the public concern, the department said it would carry on with the sting — which was targeting “johns” and not prostitutes — but wouldn’t disclose when or where it would take place.
Police conducted the sting for several hours Tuesday in the southern part of the county but didn’t make any arrests. They credited the lack of arrests to the large amount of attention the sting received last week, which they say served as a warning to johns in the area.
“I’ve participated in hundreds of stings, and I’ve never seen what happened today. By advertising this days ago, we wanted to put johns on notice to not come to Prince George’s County. That message was heard loud and clear. We just put a dent in the human trafficking business without making one arrest,” said Sgt. Dave Coleman, of the Vice Intelligence Unit, in a statement.
The department opted not to live tweet the event because officers working the sting felt their identities would be compromised due to the sting’s popularity.
Still, the department said the backlash won’t stop it from live tweeting events in the future.
“The [department] has featured nearly a dozen live Tweet events highlighting our uniformed officers in the last two years,” the department said in a statement. “We’ll continue to highlight those officers who aren’t undercover. Our community has embraced those conversations and plans are already in the works for the next PGPD TweetAlong. Stay tuned.”