Sex Solicitation Arrests Put Broadway Businesses on Notice

Sex Solicitation Arrests Put Broadway Businesses on Notice

Businesses are concerned, but with 21 arrests for prostitution over the weekend, Rockford Police is trying to push the prostitution problem out of the Broadway District.
I don't know where it will get pushed to next, but I get to the point where I don't care. I just want it gone.

ROCKFORD--During the daytime, Ron K. Lund says it's very quiet near 7th Street and Broadway.

"We don't see it during the day, it's at night when all the bad stuff happens."

With dozens of arrests in recent weeks for sex solicitation, including 21 in a police sting over the weekend, businesses are on alert to the problem.

"I personally believe it exists," says Yolanda Mendoza, who's worked at a bridal shop for five years. "I haven't seen it during the day, maybe it's something during the night."

"It's a nice area during the day," says Lund, owner of the Thrift Boutique Resale Shoppe for nearly 30 years. "We have a lot of businesses down here. We've never had any problems during the day."

However at the end of the day, safety comes to mind as more businesses close up shop during the daylight hours. Broadway Florist changed their hours in 2008; electing close at 6pm instead of 9pm. Now the flower shop locks up at 5pm.

Aside from the obvious economic affect the prostitution problem has had on the neighborhood, it's been a personal problem for Karen Elyea. The 11th Ward Alderman moved her business from Broadway to East State Street after she was solicited in her store. She still lives in the area.

"I admit, I get exasperated with this situation," Elyea said. "But it's like 'No, we have to do something about this. This is a problem. We have to make it stop. We have to make it go away.'"

It's problem that has floated from neighborhood to neighborhood. From South Main to 7th Street and now to Broadway.

"I don't know where it will get pushed to next, but I get to the point where I don't care. I just want it gone."

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