There are many U.S. cities where one would expect to find a prostitution problem — Vegas, New York, Miami or Reno. But Vallejo, the home of Six Flags Discovery Kingdom park? That wouldn’t even make my top 100.
SFGate reports that just six months ago, Vallejo citizens were losing sleep over their growing population of prostitutes. But the bankrupt city’s public decided that enough is enough, and formed community groups to help pick up some of the duties their small police force could not. These task forces (some calling themselves the “Ho Patrols”) have effectively helped eliminate the problem, with many of the prostitutes leaving town or calling it quits entirely.
The number of streetwalkers in the city’s center has been reduced from more than 12 to nearly zero at any given day — a stark difference to the “out of control” scene Vallejo resident Teresa Miller described to TIME in March. Miller, a 30-year-old student, said she began wear her boyfriend’s clothes at night so she wouldn’t be mistaken for a hooker.
“I’ve been approached on the street right by my house by johns who thought I was a prostitute,” says Miller. “I’ll get in their face and yell at them, ‘No, I’m not a prostitute. Go home to your wife!’”