From 2012 to 2013, prostitution arrests in Sioux Falls more than doubled. The number jumped from 15 to 33 in just one year. In fact, prostitution arrest numbers have steadily gone up since 2008. Police say these statistics don't necessarily point to an increase of the crime, but they actually indicate better law enforcement efforts. A couple of factors have helped, including cooperation from local hotel and motel owners.
"All of our staff is very well-trained," Praful Patel, co-owner and manager of the Super 8 on Russell Street, said.
To keep prostitution out of the rooms, workers keep a mental checklist of red flags.
"Normally when they come in for check-in, they ask for a particular location, like farther from the office," Patel said.
Patel does not allow check-in unless customers show IDs, and they must pay with credit or debit cards. He also looks for guests who have frequent visitors throughout the day. If anything does not seem right, he contacts police.
"If the town is nice and safe, I'm safe. Everybody is safe," Patel said.
Business cooperation is a big piece in solving cases like these, but police officers have also changed focus from just trying to make prostitution arrests.
"We're looking at that human trafficking side of things," Sioux Falls Police Public Information Officer Sam Clemens said.
Clemens said this can help officers find better information that may lead to other prostitution arrests. Keeping a close watch on the web is also important because it has been linked to many of the cases in this area.
"I mean, I've been here 14 years, and I mean, we haven't had street walkers. We haven't had women walking the street, where you may see that or hear about it in big cities," Clemens said. "Prostitution has been here. It's going to continue to be here."