Residents send 'Dear John' letters to wives

SAN ANTONIO -- Fed up with prostitutes soliciting customers near their homes, residents are sending letters to the wives of the men coming to their neighborhood looking for love, a published report said Saturday.

Groups of residents, armed with video cameras, binoculars, note pads and pens, patrol the neighborhoods three nights each week collecting license plate numbers of motorists seen with hookers, the San Antonio Light said Saturday.


The license plate numbers are checked with state records to secure names and addresses.

When the group, known as the 'Mahncke Park and West Fort Alliance Citizen Patrol,' obtains identifying information, a form letter is mailed, addressed to wives, notifying them their husbands have been seen picking up or dropping off a known prostitute. It cites the day of the alleged incident.

'I want people to stay away from the Broadway area for fear of getting a letter,' patrol group spokeswoman Marcia Dahlman said.

Vice Sgt. Hollis Hester said he had received two phone calls from letter recipients who mistakenly thought police had sent the letters.

'We don't send letters,' he said, adding he was unsure of the effectiveness of the missives. 'I don't know that I would do it myself.


'What they're doing has been effective in other areas. It's harassment. 'If we take away the customers, the business will die' is the philosophy behind it,' he said.

Hester said he had not seen a copy of the letter. But he noted members of the neighborhood patrol cooperate with officers who work in the neighborhood.

'Our only concern is for their safety,' Hester said of the neighborhood patrol members. 'I don't want to see some innocent people get hurt trying to clean up their neighborhood.'

Earlier this year, Bexar County Sheriff Harlon Copeland briefly placed mounted patrols in the neighborhood in an attempt to control the prostitution trade there.

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