Fewer prostitutes seen walking on North 1st Street

Fewer prostitutes seen walking on North 1st Street »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- A strategy to keep prostitutes away from North First Street seems to be getting results. YPD started enforcing a law that bans them from the neighborhood. If they come back, they get arrested.

At the New York Teriyaki sushi bar, you have a front row seat to all the action. A chef turning fish into art. Unfortunately, you might also have a perfect view of something else: Prostitutes walking up and down North 1st Street.

"A lot of customers do get scared and not come in," said New York Teriyaki owner, Hudson Kang.

Kang and his family have seen North 1st Street's ups and downs for six years now. Enough to take matters into his own hands.

"Had to call the police a few times," said Kang. "I've had to physically remove some people here."

After dozens of arrests through both prostitution stings and the violation of order arrests, businesses on North 1st Street say they've seen a major difference. The number of prostitutes and their johns dropped dramatically.

"It's been a big difference," said Kang. "The people we see walking around we know are prostitutes, we don't see them anymore."

Yakima police officers have arrested about a half dozen prostitutes for coming back to the neighborhood after being banned. It may not sound like a lot, but police tell us they make up a large percentage of the 'regulars.'

As for the regulars at New York Teriyaki, Kang says they're what keep the lights on. He hopes fewer prostitutes outside, will put more people in the seats.

Violating the neighborhood ban is a misdemeanor. Those arrested could serve up to 90 days and pay up to a $1,000 fine.