New York undercover sting operations are in full force over the last month. First, an undercover action precipitated by an advertisement in Craigslist brought the arrest on New York prostitution charges of several men who responded to this advertisement in Rye, New York. Westchester. More recently, in early November, a sting at a rest stop off of New York Interstate 684 in Bedford, New York resulted in the arrests of over 20 men, including a priest who is charged with attempting to engage in sex with an undercover officer.
Most recently, on November 8th and 9th, the Mount Vernon Patrol Task Force conducted an undercover sting operation that led to the arrests of 23 men on misdemeanor charges of patronizing a prostitute. In the Mount Vernon sting, near the Bronx border, undercover officers acted as decoys for suspects who approached the officers and allegedly offered to engage in sexual acts for money.
The police departments involved in the sting operations argue that prostitution deteriorates the quality of life in their jurisdictions and leads to more serious criminal activity, including drug offenses. However, unlike the sting operation at the Bedford, New York rest stop, which was precipitated by a complaint from a father who was using the rest room with his ten year old son and observed sexual activity, an argument can be made that in the Rye sting operation, individuals simply responded to an advertisement, there was no possibility of public involvement, and these individuals were attempting to engage in a “victimless crime.”