Sex on verandas, condoms, syringes litter street
VINCENT city council is planning to publicly name and shame men prosecuted for soliciting prostitutes in Highgate.
Mayor Alannah MacTiernan told councillors at Tuesday night’s meeting she was fed-up with the “mayhem” in and around Stirling Street caused by kerb-crawlers.
Local Robert McCormack reported that people engage in sex on verandas, while used condoms and syringes litter the street.
Despite WA Police issuing 156 move-on notices since January and undertaking a street-blitz in November, prostitution is rife.
Ms MacTiernan says names and faces could be published in a media email alert and on a council-run website.
“These people are destroying the amenity of the area, and a lot of them are older men in their late 50s and beyond,” she fumes.
“We’re not being moralistic about this, there are plenty of brothels in the city which these people can use.
“I acknowledge that there are underlying social issues driving this problem, but we’ve got to keep it under control and do something in the short term—it’s become too rampant and intense.”
Ms MacTiernan is talking with police about how she can get the names and faces up in lights.
Ray Clarke, who has lived in Smith Street for 23 years, says prostitution had been a serious problem since 2001.
A Department of Housing building has been used as a brothel for 18 months, he claims.
Senior Sergeant Simon Hazel told councillors extra resources had gone into the problem but prostitution was a wide-ranging social issue and police work alone would never eradicate it.
The item was originally going to be debated behind closed doors, but after an emotionally-charged question time, Cr Josh Topelberg successfully moved for it to be discussed in public.
Councillors voted to spend $60,500 to:
• keep a ranger in and around Stirling Street to deter kerb-crawling for a month;
• install additional lighting in Stirling Street, between Bulwer and Lincoln Streets; and,
• erect moveable CCTV cameras in and around Stirling Street, and prune trees in the street to aid visibility.
Ms MacTiernan says she’s thinking about assigning a council staffer to manage the problem full-time.
Kerb crawling in the area was so bad 10 years ago the council installed road blocks and photographed the licence plates of every car entering Stirling Street.
The controversial move made headlines over privacy concerns.
A development application for an aged care facility on Smith Street was heard by council the same night. Residents who spot dodgy dealings should call the cops—not the council—on 131 444.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK