Daybreak along El Cajon Boulevard can be a rude awakening and a reminder of the road’s most illicit reputation.
A few women dressed in short skirts, leather jackets and high heels waited this morning near the boulevard’s intersection with Kansas Street. A motorist pulled up next to the group, one woman slid into the front passenger seat and the car took off.
Across the street, customers at a 24-hour diner worked on their breakfasts and read the newspaper as if part of a normal routine. They turned to watch the remaining women when a patrolling black and white pulled up.
The police officers separated the remaining two women for questioning, but eventually let them walk away. They had no evidence to prove the women committed a crime, and at least for the time being, the women had lost their interest in standing at that corner. They’ll be somewhere else tomorrow.
The corner of Kansas Street and El Cajon Boulevard is one block south of a YMCA youth activity center, less than one mile away from several schools and not too far from popular neighborhoods. It is also within a five-block radius where San Diego Police arrest the most people for crimes of prostitution. The boulevard is renowned as the city’s hub of prostitution and its reputation has helped sustain the level of criminal activity while other hotspots have faded with time.
“Why El Cajon has survived as this area where prostitution does take place, is a question that probably goes beyond my expertise and before I was ever a prosecutor or before any of us were here,” said Kristin Beattie, who prosecutes neighborhood crimes in the Mid City area.