City officials respond to prostitution concerns in south San Antonio

Citizens listen as officials address concerns at a town hall.

Some residents in a south San Antonio neighborhood feel like they're under siege because of drugs and crime. We spoke with multiple people who voiced their concerns at a town hall meeting on Monday, some blame prostitution taking place in the area.

"This is a huge problem in San Antonio,” said Robert Gonzalez who lives in the area with 7 children. “It feels like no one is doing anything about it."

Gonzalez believes there’s a “revolving door” of people taking part in prostitution. Gonzalez tells us men and women get arrested, and end up right back on the same street corner weeks later.

For almost 2 years, Robert has lived near the S. Presa and Stratford intersection. Recently, his 7-year-old daughter started to notice a trend occurring nearby.

“My daughter asked me, Hey dad, why is that girl always getting picked up by different cars all the time?” said Gonzalez.

Robert tells us that he will notice police watching the area for hours, however nothing gets done.

"We see SAPD sitting at the corner of Southcross and Presa.” Said Gonzalez. “We'll literally see 3 or 4 prostitutes walking down the street, and nothing is done. It's a sign that like, it's alright."

Police tell us, they've made eight prostitution arrests in that area between January and October of 2017. Regardless, Robert joined others concerned about the issue, at a town hall on Monday.

"Instead of giving me an answer, a strategy, and a plan. We're getting, we're aware of the problem,” said Gonzalez. “Ok, but what are you going to do to fix the problem?”

We reached out to District 3 Councilmember Rebecca Viagran for a comment, who provided this written statement.

“Addressing prostitution problems at Southcross and S. Presa has been a priority since I have taken office,” said Viagran in the statement. “One of the things we’re doing is focusing on the root causes, such as drug addiction, gang activity, human trafficking, and nuisance properties. We’ve had meetings with SAPD, our SAFFE officers, and the owners of hotels and motels. The truth is we need SAPD and other enforcement agencies to dedicate more resources and attention to this issue, which is part of the reason I had requested we establish a police south substation in the area. This is a complex matter that will require continued collaboration between the community, neighborhood leaders, advocacy groups, and City staff.”

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