Since Jerry Jones first picked the site for his new stadium, the city of Arlington has casually taken to battling prostitution in the Entertainment District -- an area that is loosely defined as a corner of northeast Arlington that houses Cowboys Stadium, the Ballpark, Hurricane Harbor and Six Flags Over Texas, as well as a number of seedy bars and hotels that have attracted working ladies for years. So far, the city has used embarrassment as a deterrent to doing the deed for dollars by placing pictures of the offenders on the police department's website.
With fewer than 500 arrests over four years, as reported by the Dallas Morning News, or roughly one every three days, embarrassment is no longer enough.
Over the past few years, hookers and johns haven't received the message that they aren't wanted in the family-friendly area. Now, the city is contemplating banishment from a newly defined region known as the Prostitution Exclusion Zone, the Morning News reports, as a way to get rid of the offenders for good. Uh, well, for a very short time anyway. OK, only a year to be precise.
In other words, the plan will keep prostitutes away from Cowboys Stadium until well after the curtain has closed on Super Bowl XLV next February.
Sure it will.
Imagine yourself a prostitute placed under geographic banishment from working in the Entertainment District/PEZ -- aka the site of one of the world's greatest sporting events -- where you could, theoretically, make more money than you ever have before. Is Arlington's equivalent of pimp-slapping you to the outer fringe of Fun Central something you'll take lying down? I bet not, and I bet that since you're a prostitute to begin with, the threat of an additional Class C misdemeanor isn't much of a deterrent to violating your expulsion.
The banishment is fine and good in theory, and heck, maybe even a few pros will recognize being ostracized. But, where does the city council think the expelled will go to earn a buck? My guess is somewhere still relatively close to the action ... ie, into the nearby neighborhoods of Arlington, Grand Prairie and the Mid-Cities.
Most Arlington residents are likely in support of spreading the wealth brought in by the masses who travel to see the Super Bowl, but peppering prostitutes across the city by creating a hooker-free zone isn't really the preferred way to boost the economy in Arlington's east neighborhoods.
If Arlington wants to truly crack down on prostitution, there are better ways. Start with flipping through Backpage or Craigslist, two places where working girls certainly aren't afraid to advertise their wares and location.
Should officers catch an expelled prostitute or john in the PEZ, the offender would receive a Class C misdemeanor, which is similar to a moving violation, and be subject to arrest for coming where they aren't welcome. Which, to me, doesn't sound all that different than the current penalty -- a Class B misdemeanor.