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Hookers and Heroin Growing Problem in Mainstrasse

Mainstrasse Village is Covington's and one of the region's most vibrant entertainment districts but there is a growing problem with new visitors to the more residential parts of the neighborhood. Prostitutes are visible in daylight and at night working corners at Ninth and Main Streets, walking along Pike Street, loitering around Philadelphia, Greer, Bakewell, Seventh, and Eighth Streets. The issue has grown significantly in the past few months, so much so that Covington Police have dedicated a special 4-man task force to crack down on it. Police Chief Spike Jones attended Wednesday's Residents of Mainstrasse Association (ROMA) meeting at Chez Nora and explained the problem is deeper than prostitution and different than just metal theft, another growing problem across the City. "Folks out prostituting are doing it to feed their addiction, stealing copper to feed their addiction," Jones said, noting that most if not all of these new troubles can be blamed on an old problem: heroin. "It's to the point that they're not always doing it to get high, they're doing it to keep from getting sick."

The heroin epidemic plaguing Northern Kentucky and much of the country is even visible in parking lots across town, particularly the ones that surround Mainstrasse. Jones said it was not uncommon to discover addicts passed out in vehicles or bathroom stalls with syringes hanging from their arms at gas stations and fast food restaurants. Every day the Covington Police deal with at least one heroin overdose and while the drug is the root of the related problems, the Police have their hands full combating the growing number of street walkers who cannot be taken to jail for prostitution but rather only for a related charge, loitering for prostitution, thanks to a change in state statute to address jail overcrowding. Jones explained that some of these prostitutes taken into custody are only in jail for half an hour. 

"We can't do it by ourselves," the chief said. He has met with the new local command post director of the Kentucky State Police and the Newport Police Chief and hopes to meet with the Cincinnati Police Chief to discuss strategy. In the meantime, Covington officers will continue undercover and more overt work to tackle the prostitution problem in Covington's most visited neighborhood. One officer working the beat tells The River City News that he only carries $15 in cash and that is usually enough to entice one of the streetwalkers. Heroin is mostly sold in $20, $40, or $60 packages and a few of the houses distributing the drug are also being identified and targeted for future arrests.

"We've got these good neighborhoods and these great people living in them and they have to deal with this mess," Jones said, adding that phone calls to the police from concerned residents are encouraged. "When you see something, burn the phones up."