CRIME BLOTTER

A group of residents tries to crack down on prostitution along Aurora, but is it legal?

Jul 2, 2024, 3:13 PM | Updated: 4:46 pm

Image: Cars drive on Aurora Avenue in Seattle. People who live and work in that area are fed up wit...

Cars drive on Aurora Avenue in Seattle. People who live and work in that area are fed up with prostitution. They created a website called “IsJonAJohn.com?" and they’re building a searchable database of license plates of those suspected of soliciting prostitution. (Photo: James Lynch, KIRO Newsradio)

(Photo: James Lynch, KIRO Newsradio)

People who live and work along a stretch of Aurora Avenue North in Seattle are fed up with prostitution and the crime that comes along with it. Now, an anonymous group of residents is taking matters into their own hands.

They’ve created a website called isjonajohn.com and they’re building a searchable database of license plates of those suspected of soliciting prostitution.

The world’s oldest profession has a decades long history on this stretch of Aurora. Along with it come drugs, theft, and even murder.

“(It has) gotten progressively worse, and I’d say the last 10 years have been really challenging. It’s become kind of accepted,” said neighbor Sean Spencer.

This type of activity creates an unsafe feeling for families here and it’s bad for business.

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“We have definitely had customers not want to come in the showroom, but when they don’t want to come here because the streets are filled with drug addicts and prostitutes, you know. What do you say to that?” business owner Mike Carroll said.

According to the website, the group’s goal is to reduce illegal activities in their neighborhood, promote safety, and deter crime through community awareness.

Any license plate number can be entered into the search window. If the car was caught on cameras in the area images of the car can be seen. If the plate was entered into the system by mistake, there is a process to have it removed.

Looking at the legality of isjonajohn.com

The site may sound like a good idea, but it could present legal jeopardy for those involved.

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“Unlike a police officer, who has some legal protections, vigilantes do not. If they are wrong, they can be sued or arrested,” said former Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.

Whether they are part of the anonymous group or just trying to raise their families in the city they love, most agree that something has to be done, and they know it won’t be easy.

“I hope it turns around. I believe it can, but it’s going to take a concerted effort from local police enforcement being supported by our local policymakers. I hope it gets better because it’s a wonderful area,” Spencer said.

Since it was started about a month ago, 7,000 plate numbers have been entered.

You can read more of James Lynch’s stories here. Follow James on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email him here.

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A group of residents tries to crack down on prostitution along Aurora, but is it legal?