PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Four men have been arrested in Portland as part of the police department's effort to crack down on prostitution in the city's Parkside neighborhood.
The Parkside Neighborhood Association asked police to step up enforcement on Weymouth Street between Park and Congress Steets because of an increase in street-level prostitution in recent weeks.
On Sunday night, police arrested four men after they each offered an undercover police officer money for sex.
61-year-old Robert Flagg from Westbrook, 29-year-old Jose Menjivar from Portland, 55-year-old Rumen Shopov from Portland, and 32-year-old Christopher Pierce from Naples were all charged with engaging a prostitute.
Three of the arrests occured within a two-block radius on Weymouth Street and within a twenty minute time span.
Police have said they are concerned about the rise in street-level prostitution in recent weeks because it negatively impacts the quality of life in the neighborhood, while also inviting other criminal activity.
"Residents [are] reporting that women that live there are walking down the street and are being approached by random men and propositioned," Portland Police Assistant Chief Vern Malloch said. "Things like robberies and other sex crimes, the risk certainly rises when we see that, along with drug activity."
Malloch said police will continue their increased patrols in the Parkside neighborhood in an effort to deter others from engaging prostitutes.