KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Nine women are facing prostitution charges after Knoxville Police conducted a prostitution sting Monday in East Knoxville.
"The operation was conducted in response to numerous complaints from area residents and businesses about prostitutes in the area and the criminal activity associated with the offense," Knoxville Police spokesman Darrell DeBusk says.
Police say they targeted the area around Central Street and Magnolia Avenue.
Undercover Knoxville Police officers swept across east Knoxville starting at 7:00 this morning, and by 2:00 they had arrested nine women for alleged prostitution.
"It's a quality of life thing," DeBusk says. "You look at the prostitution business, there's more than just prostitution that's going on. You have drug activity, you have an increase in thefts in the area."
Which is why DeBusk says community involvement is key.
Officers use complaints from the Magnolia Ave. and Cherry Street area to target potential prostitutes.
"These individuals move around," DeBusk says. "You may arrest them today on one end of town, tomorrow, they're back out on the street, but they may be several blocks, or several miles from the original location."
And the weather plays a role in when prostitution picks up.
DeBusk says they see an increase in activity every year around this time.
"We try to move in and get them off the street, as long as we can, and charge them as frequently as we can," DeBusk says. "Hopefully someday they'll actually obtain a longer sentence, and be off the street for a good amount of time."
Here are the names and charges of those arrested:
Suzanne Atnip, 24, Prostitution
Kristy Greene, 39, Prostitution
Annette Key, 35, Prostitution
Christy Caldway, 35, Prostitution / Promoting Prostitution
Sara Russell, 24, Indecent Exposure / Prostitution
Shawnee Headrick, 21, Prostitution
Kimberly Stewart, 36, Prostitution
Yolanda McKenzie, 54, Prostitution / Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Kristin Blumenstien, 28, Prostitution / Possession of Drug Paraphernalia