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Operation 'Dear John' Launched to Crack down on Prostitution in Milwaukee

If you plan on seeking a prostitute on Milwaukee's south-side, be prepared for a letter in the mail.

Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan rolled out his "Dear John" campaign Wednesday, hoping to crack down on rampant prostitution on Milwaukee's south-side.

Donovan says a private security team will be gathering information on customers, known as Johns.

    "We want to know what vehicles are coming into this neighborhood on a daily basis, committing crime after crime after crime," says Donovan "We will be sending out letters to the Johns that are identified." 

Donovan says that information will also be turned over to police. MPD did not return our requests for comment on the operation. 

Near 24th and Greenfield, neighbors say "ladies of the night" are working in broad daylight. 

    "They're just up and down the street," says Laura Perich. "You're seeing condom wrappers, you're seeing the evidence." 

In a church parking lot near her home, our cameras captured more than 2 dozen used condoms on the ground. 

Perich says she can't even walk to the store without men pulling over to ask if she's a prostitute. 

    "I could be in sweat pants, covered up, it does not matter," she says. "It's gotta stop."

Donovan says the Dear John operation will run as a pilot program for 2 months. Roughly $6,000 has been raised through community donations to fund the project, which Donovan says is not being funded by taxpayers. 

    "If you're coming into this neighborhood to engage in illegal activity, don't," he says. "We don't want you here. Get the hell out." 

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