WebPosted April 23, 1999 6:08 AM CDT

New Johns law too good?

WINNIPEG — A new law that allows police to seize the vehicles of people suspected of soliciting prostitutes may be working too well — and it's forcing Winnipeg police to change their tactics.

Police have seized just four vehicles since the legislation was enacted nearly two months ago.

The new law was well-publicized, and now police are wondering if it received too much media attention.

Sgt. Paul Johnston, of the morals unit, says the law has had some positive effect, but some negative as well.

"Definitely slowed the traffic down and limited us to the amount of arrests we can make," he says.

Johnston doesn't think there are fewer johns looking for prostitutes. But he says the trade has probably moved indoors.

"That's what we believe. There definitely has been a move to go indoors, but like I say that's something now that, as the intelligence comes in, we'll be readjusting our ways of investigating this type of crime and we'll address that when it comes to it."

Johnston says the new law has led to a drastic reduction in traffic and street trade in areas frequented by johns and prostitutes.

And that's produced several positive comments from people who live and work in those neighborhoods.

Johnston says the vehicle seizure law may have more impact during the summer. He says people who solicit prostitutes may forget the law is on the books, and get careless.

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Created: December 6, 2000
Last modified: January 21, 2001
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