Prostitution Crackdown, More Money for Cops Among Crime-Fighting Ideas

New Port Richey City Council members discussed a number of ways to take a bite out of crime during a Sept. 10 workshop.

Kim Bogart
Kim Bogart
City Council members floated a number of ideas Sept. 10 to curb crime in New Port Richey. Some of the options discussed include creating an ordinance to help fight prostitution, taking a look whether they could strengthen code enforcement and infusing the police department with more money for the battle against crime.

City residents, most of them living in the River Road area, had come to the council the week before to complain about crime in the neighborhood and offer solutions.

They rallied around Dr. Donald Cadle, a New Port Richey dentist who was home last month when a bullet zoomed into his house and lodged into his living room wall. They complained of break-ins, vagrancy and late-night parties in city parks. Concerns about prostitution along U.S. 19 and blight have also long been an issue in the city.

So, the city council held the Sept. 10 work session to try and find possible solutions.

Police Chief Kim Bogart, who started the job in an interim capacity this past March and was appointed to the job full-time in August, had some ideas.  He emphasized that the police department is kept extremely busy, listing the volume of calls his department received in one day.

So, among his ideas were suggestions to hire a “couple” more police officers, make a part-time code enforcement officer position full-time, hiring a crime analyst, hiring a replacement community policing officer to bring that unit's staffing to two, and creating a “selective enforcement squad” that concentrates on specific problems and quality of life issues that patrol officers don’t have time to address.

Some residents have suggested starting a neighborhood watch. Bogart is weary of endorsing an all-volunteer watch “without tight controls on it.”

“I can’t have untrained volunteers in neighborhoods with some of the dangerous folks who are out there,” he said. “It just needs to be controlled.”

Community policing officers, however, could help form those watches. Bogart also suggested launching regular meetings between the police and community members.

“People are busy, I get it, but we can’t solve this without some of your help,” he said.

He also suggested the city consider crafting an anti-prostitution ordinance that makes it easier for police to arrest known “ladies of the night.” He’s hoping the ordinance would be worded so that if such a woman even waves or makes a certain gesture to someone, it would be justification for arrest. He said the ordinance could also help handle johns.

Bogart also acknowledged that an area hotel is catering to former state prison inmates who receive vouchers from the state for temporary lodging. City Council members indicated they wanted to find a way to stop that from continuing.

Deputy Mayor Bill Phillips pointed out that the city has about $200,000 in reserves that it could use to fund police department needs. The police department will also end the current fiscal year with a little less than $100,000 in unspent money that could be used.

“I think it needs to be allocated as soon as possible,” he said.

Council members indicated they wanted to see updated numbers on city funds that could be used to fund police department requests.

Councilman Jeff Starkey took aim at the city’s prostitution problem.

“It’s unbelievable how brazen these nasty, nasty, nasty women are on U.S. 19,” he said.

He also wanted the city council to look at how code enforcement operates and how procedures and rules can be improved.

“It’s not working the way it’s set up,” he said. “”We still have these problem properties that don’t seem to go away.”

City Council members indicated they want to hold continued meetings with the community and craft an action plan to take steps against the crime problem sooner rather than later.

Cadle was at the Sept. 10 meeting and was pleased to see the city council take action toward addressing the crime concerns.  He liked that the council was considering “ordinances with strength.”

“I think they’re moving in the right direction,” he said.

What do you think?

Grace October 01, 2013 at 09:34 AM
I have driven along the 19 and seen what appear to be hookers. WOW some men must be desperate! And to waste more of my tax money on prostitutes. To arrest them and the johns, the paperwork. We need to do what they do in NV and in parts of Europe. Have a designated place where it is legal, license these women, weekly medical exams and charge them a fee like we do for these panhandlers. Tax them and there you go. Revenue for the city. How about we spend money protecting our streets from wackos with guns, and break ins. Simple solution. Wouldn't that make NPR the talk of the country. Some common sense solutions for a problem which is called the oldest profession in the world. If these men want to sleep with these hookers, they deserve whatever they get but we could use common sense to solve this problem!
PATRICIA FALKMAN October 01, 2013 at 11:03 AM
I would think the reason these women are dirty dirty dirty is because they actually are. The men (or John's), I would assume, have jobs and homes and clothing. Washer and dryers. Lives that do not begin and end in a cheap motel room. Would it be legal to immediately cash fine either/both of them...that fund would pay for more of what we need so we can walk safely at night if our dogs want to walk. Work with me here...there must be some type of program that would allow this....maybe not even booking...issue ticket/take photo/collect money...good bye. Like a traffic ticket? All suggestions are only to open the "box" and bring out workable ideas. Nothing too silly...just ridding our commnity of this problem and getting the equipment funded that can aid in better safety for citizens.
Mary E. C ameron June October 02, 2013 at 01:36 PM
who are these people ? what gives them the right to judge? when you have lived thier life felt thier pains delt with thier abuses and discimanations then play GOD and JUDGE. let a person live as long as they arent hurting anyone
Okiana Rodriguez October 10, 2013 at 08:59 PM
Just remember, Herpes and Venereal Warts live on US 19 and Alt 19, IN THESE CHICKS PANTS AND ON THEIR TONGUES, so take that home to Momma, or better yet DON'T.
PATRICIA FALKMAN October 11, 2013 at 12:54 PM
They aren't hurting anyone Mary? Obviously you don't own a home near any of these places. I am thinking you probably done even walk down 19. Or ride a bicycle. I guess if you are lucky, you are in your oh so perfect little neighborhood and don't have to deal with the reality of the situation. Why not start a committee of cleaning up the community from a level you might understand....trash pick up. Learn how it is to the rest of us by looking at just the litter. Put your mouth and ideas out there for people to try and get a grasp of reality. Do not attack those who are actually trying to think of things that would help.


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