Speaking after a council meeting in which a number of residents expressed frustration about the issue, Ms MacTiernan said the City was looking to take strong action, including increased lighting, closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and the appointment of a specific person to liaise with police.
‘I’m speaking to the police two or even three times a week about this issue,’ she said. ‘Unfortunately we don’t have the powers that they have in New York, we can’t direct the police, but we are encouraging them to act ” I made sure there was a police officer there at this week’s meeting, so he could hear what people were saying.’
Ms MacTiernan said the City would speak to Homeswest following an allegation that sex workers were operating from one particular property on Smith Street.
At the council meeting on March 26, six Highgate residents spoke of their frustration about street prostitution and its effects,including used syringes and condoms, public sex, and harassment from kerb crawlers, pimps and sex workers.
Alexandra Lawson, who grew up in the area, said she saw drug dealing happening on her street as a young girl.
‘I’ve known about the issue for 20 years, and nothing has improved,’ she said.
‘There are three brothels within walking distance from me ” I don’t feel safe walking along my own street at night.’
Robert McCormack said the issue continued to be a serious problem along the Smith-Stirling-Lincoln bracket of streets near Perth Oval.
‘We see syringes and used condoms all over the street, there’s been public sex, and we’ve had threats, including death threats from pimps and girls,’ he said.
Ms MacTiernan said she would like to see an operation to ‘name and shame’ kerb crawlers, and road-closures that would make it difficult for them to solicit sex in the area.
Sex workers’ association Scarlet Alliance spokeswoman Rebecca Davies said that sex workers in the area had complained of police harassment, but denied there was harassment from men soliciting sex workers.
She said that sex workers in the area were working independently, and that pimping was not an issue.