"About twice a year this question comes up," writes a member screen-named acguy. "Santa Cruz is tough! LE protects the Boardwalk and the tourists. All of Ocean St. being the main drag for tourists on their way to the boardwalk means lots of LE. Have to be low key and not out long on those streets. I doubt it's really worth it. Pacific ave. west of downtown has had some action but, LE is on bikes as well here. I've seen some action on Mission st but don't know much. Mission is away from tourists and Boardwalk. Santa Cruz is just a tough place for SW."
LE is law enforcment; SW, streetwalker.
The news is all good for Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark, who says his department recently conducted stings on streetwalkers and their clients. He is looking into the arrest figures and it will be added here.
"They come in waves," he says. "Most are from out of town and they usually come here during the summer."
Neighbors phone calls to police have cut into the prostitution problem, he says. "In Lower Ocean, people are more aware of it and they report it, so it's not operating in the dark."
That's a big change from 1995 when Santa Cruz Metro did an article calling the city "a tolerant business venue" for sex crimes.
"There's an understanding about sex work in this town. I've never had a fear of the law," one prostitute was quoted as saying in the story. Another claimed the police were bought off.
Some current Redbook posters claimed that streetwalkers were now working at massage parlors, however, reviews of the burgeoning Asian massage business in town showed that many of the masseuses were following the law and not offering HE--happy endings. However, a poster named Arana, said he found one that did offer extra services.
Clark said the biggest surprise for police in busting streetwalkers has been finding how many work in the daytime.
"It's something you associate with night, but if you are out in the day and you know what you are looking for, you see cars lining up like a runway at LAX, even in broad daylight," he says.
A Redbook poster named Daythread831 gave this review: "stay away from the lower ocean area. you will get harassed by either cops or horny salvadoreans. ive seen some sw's in downtown on pacific ave. posted at the taco bell. u can try that"
In a November post, Vegas Rob gave his review of prostitution and crime in the Cruz:
"Stay off of ocean - that's where LE, meth addicts, homeless and gangstas like to hang out. Especially gritty where 17 hits ocean.
Track 1: Barsons, Riverside, Broadway, Ocean but be careful on ocean around the 7-11. LE hangs out in the hotel parking lot across the street. Also beware of girls walking with traffic, if you are northbound on ocean, they will walk you right into the LE in the parking lot. Surprise!
Track 2: Pacific south of Laurel. Its a different world down here. The black guy in front of the card room is selling drugs, girls, even a seat at the next poker tournament. The anarchists hang out at the bike church. Everyone seems strung out.
Seriously, be careful. If the girl is walking the wrong way, or flagging you down, then you really need to think about whether you want to sleep in your own bed, or the ones a few blocks away in the city jail on center st."