EDITORIAL : How about some props for West New York police? In a little over a month, they’ve busted five prostitution rings operating out of the city. That’s quality-of-life policing that doesn’t get big headlines — but makes for a safer community.
Traveling brothels have long been able to move from one apartment to another throughout Hudson County and into Fairview and Cliffside Park. But West New York cops lately have been staying right on their … um… tails.
And it’s paid off with the same kind of “ broken windows ” results that helped make Manhattan much safer. It’s why you don’t see squeegee men anymore when you come out of the Lincoln into midtown. Zero tolerance.
“Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows,” George L. Kelling , the originator of the theory, once wrote . “Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.
“Or consider a sidewalk,” Kelling wrote. “Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates.
“Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.
The particulars of West New York hopping ho operations aren’t important. It’s usually people in their 30s and sometimes older, occasionally younger, at times illegal immigrants, who provide cheap sex to guys looking for a cheap thrill.
The apartments are easy to come by — many are illegal conversions that don’t draw attention on particularly crowded blocks because the city is already so overpopulated.
And although many of these would-be entrepreneurs advertise online, the latest crew of geniuses actually distributed business cards throughout the city, according to city Police Director Albert Bringa.
It wasn’t long before one of those cards ended up in the hands of the cops. From there, it was easy for an undercover to make a call, arrange a meet, show up and — just before the moment of truth — signal a unit to come busting in.
In this case, as with others, surveillance cameras sent image to monitors kept in the kitchen.
Problem was, these people have become so brazen that no one’s really watching.
West New York cops are watching. And although some may think it’s no big deal, the raids are a mighty hammer that can smash the first festerings of activity that, if ignored, could destroy neighborhoods where hard-working people are trying to make a better future for their children.
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