It’s not typically a person in a short skirt and stilettos on the sidewalk corner waiting for johns.
Mug shots of Jacksonville arrestees were compared with Julia Roberts, who played a prostitute in the film Pretty Woman, for an example.
Other not-as-subtle clues would be a trashcan full of Ziploc bags with the corners removed – a sign of possible drug activity, since dealers sometimes fill the corner with drugs and tear it off to create small baggies, Silance said.
Rooms with doors constantly propped open and ones with frequent visitors who stay for short spurts of time are suspicious. They’ve also had guests pay for just one night at a time for days on end, all in cash, and others have one person pay for the room while a different person stays there.
In the first six months of this year, 43 have already been arrested, according to the Jacksonville Police Department.
There have also been six arrests for human trafficking compared to four in 2015.
It’s a red flag if there are too many people going in and out of one room.
Silance said he’s heard of Marines coming to the hotels in groups and going inside, one after another, for sex.
Other times the staff is unaware, and it’s thanks to the help of guests that the criminal activity is caught.
“Preventing crime is more important than enforcement,” he told a room of hotel employees.
The police department held a Crime Prevention & Security for Hotels seminar at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce on Thursday morning.
“What really brought (the prostitution) to our attention was when one of our guests came to us and told us he had pretty much been propositioned,” Foster said.
It was a big help for them, Foster continued, having the support and help of the guest.