By: Melissa Toupin
The doors to this Providence massage parlor on Pontiac Ave. are closed. The blinds are drawn, and the lights are off. It's just one of five where prostitution was common that have shut down after police pressure. Neighboring businesses we spoke to say they are happy with the crack down.
"It is an illegal thing, so I guess it's better for the neighborhood, and better for the community," said Sonny Pham who works at High-Tech Auto Services and Detail. His businesses is right across the street from two of the parlors, Red Rose Spa, and JJ Tunia Body Work.
Debra Olaes also works at the car shop. She says police were at JJ Tunia Body Work as recently as last week.
"I kind of knew there was something going on, but you didn't know exactly what it was, but we kind of assumed they were getting raided," said Olaes.
Police went under cover posing as customers. They say they didn't force the illegal parlors to close, but pressured women with arrests, and landlords with criminal prosecution, for violating the 3-year-old law against indoor prostitution.
Still, Olaes says she's seen potential clients knocking on the door across the street.
"It's a nice attempt," said Olaes. "But you can't really expect for it to stay that way. They're just going to keep finding new places to do it."
A total of five parlors are closed now, and 5 more are expected to be shut down as additional officers go under cover. Neighbors hope it'll send a message.
"Hopefully it makes a difference," said Pham. "I just don't want to see any bad figures around here any more."