The arrest of an 85-year-old on a charge of public indecency has prompted police to take a closer look at the issue of prostitution along an eastside corridor.
Frances Tucher, 85, was arrested last week after a neighbor on East 10th Street called police. Investigators said Tucher was performing a sex act in a car near 10th Street and Chester Avenue, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.
Tucher, who has no criminal history, was preliminarily charged with indecent exposure, not prostitution. Tucher's gender identity is not known at this time.
But neighbors said the crime of prostitution is rampant in the area.
"I call (the police) on the hookers all the time, and they say they have to catch them in the act," said the woman who called police on Tucher.
Police on Tuesday set up a sting operation aimed at catching the so-called johns who patronize prostitutes in the area. Seven people were arrested, including a 16-year-old and a construction worker who said he was on his lunch break.
The owner of an area dry-cleaning business said prostitution hurts her profits.
"They would be sitting on the steps, and I would tell them they have to move," the woman said. "I would tell them you can't be prostituting here."
Several community groups have taken on the issue, attending court hearings of suspected prostitutes arrested in the neighborhood.
"There are three of us that go to court religiously on prostitution cases. But most of them are given probation, which is stupid because they go out and do the same thing over again," said Pat Bernon with the Grace-Tuxedo Neighborhood Association.
Prostitution also brings drugs and other crimes into neighborhood, further fueled by the people who patronize prostitutes, police said. But investigators said they're gaining ground.
"Hopefully, with the community's help, and the additional work by our undercover officers, we'll try to put a spin on this as far as making more arrests," said Lt. Jeffrey Duhamell.
Last year, Indianapolis police made 478 prostitution arrests, 11 arrests for promoting prostitution and 32 arrests for public indecency.