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?

Sandra Dornick September 12, 2013 at 07:53 AM
Glad to see the city council is taking crime seriously. Surprised to learn the prostitution ordinance doesn't have teeth now, but I guess implementing change is never too late. Regardless of who had to be the victim for change to begin taking place, it sounds like they are putting a plan together to combat issues that are seriously out of control.
Christine Tsotsos September 12, 2013 at 01:36 PM
Clearly, if residents know where the "Hooker Hub" is, WHY isn't there a patrol car there on duty during the evening? Arrest the johns...I don't care how inconvenient that is. Take away the clientele, the hookers will flee, sort of like when you fumigate roaches find someplace else to go. Get some undercover law enforcement where the drugs are being sold. Conduct a sting. If the chief doesn't know how to do this, he shouldn't be in the position. Patrol the park area. If this area had sufficient lighting (and maybe downtown needs more light), the criminal element can be more readily visible. Pushing the released prisoner hotel issue on the citizens of NPR to write their congress people is passing the buck. City gov't has some pull...GET ON THE PHONE with the representatives and get this motel thing moved to a dive off of the Interstate. Change the sign code YESTERDAY! Making it impossible for AT&T to stay with all the code harassment while allowing the owner of the E-cig store to have some tacky, bold signage in his window is TACKY and tasteless. You essentially kicked out a business that could have elevated NPR's status. Time to stop talking. Time to implement. Or does a bullet need to fly through the mayor's, city manager's or the police chief's window for a fire to be lit under the city gov't?
Susan Washburn September 12, 2013 at 07:23 PM
If you wave to a friend and you are a woman you will be arrested? Doesn't sound kosher to me. Late night parties in the park? What is the time that the park closes? Are there no park supervisors? If there is a permit for a party, it should be allowed providing no neighbors complain of excessive noise. And as I said before, perhaps if the city got some industry and businesses to move here, there would be no need for women to resort to prostitution to get money to survive. People use prostitution to fund drug habits. Perhaps there would be less drug addiction if people had jobs and enough money so they wouldn't have to run from their financial problems by resorting to drug use.
Alex Tiegen September 13, 2013 at 08:04 AM
Hey folks, if you're going to comment, please be civil.
Jeff Starkey September 13, 2013 at 08:16 AM
Thank you Alex. Jeff Starkey
kathy tsioukan September 13, 2013 at 09:11 AM
Ladies of the night Try first thing in the morning.
L V September 13, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Editor, what isn't civil? Nothing here violates your Terms of Use to be flagged as inappropriate.
Alex Tiegen September 13, 2013 at 02:02 PM
There was a comment here that was out of line and has been taken down
sue cano September 13, 2013 at 02:09 PM
Thank you for responding to the concerns brought forward by the community residents. These are complex issues that need careful solutions, but it sounds like everyone is discussing them now, which is a good thing. I am hopeful that steps can be taken to ensure as a community we all feel safe and comfortable living in NPR.
Greg Smithwick September 13, 2013 at 05:27 PM
Jeff Starkey: "Nasty nasty nasty women..." Really? Please explain how they are nastier than the johns. I was disappointed, once again, to see how much attention is paid to the sex trade workers (many of whom are struggling with other problems), and how little is paid to those that engage prostitutes.
Christine Tsotsos September 13, 2013 at 06:07 PM
I agree, Greg. Go after the johns. Eliminate the source of money and the prostitutes will go elsewhere. Seriously, as I said the people of NPR know exactly where the hooker hub is located. If they do, then why don't the police? Get in there and stay there with the patrol car. OR go undercover and arrest the johns. The comments about how good it is the discussion is happening...these criminal activities (not just prostitution) has been going on for a VERY long time. Thanks to Dr. and Mrs. Cadle, it can't be swept under the council rug anymore. Enough discussion. These folks had a bullet fly through their window and lodge into a wall in their home. I don't think they're satisfied that everyone's discussing it now. What would the discussion be if they, their beautiful dogs, children or grandchild experienced the sting of that bullet? ENOUGH TALK! Patrol, arrest, prosecute and get the state involved moving the location where released prisoners get to stay for two weeks. GET it out of NPR. Letter writing by the citizens. Pffft. What this issue needs is work by the Mayor, Police Chief and the city council! THEY need to call the state representatives.
Christine Tsotsos September 13, 2013 at 06:08 PM
*these criminal activities HAVE been going on. Sorry for the typo.
Angela Littlefield September 14, 2013 at 10:33 AM
Put some cops on bicycles and let them patrol the area.
Irene Tamara Hallisey September 14, 2013 at 10:56 AM
Legalize, regulate and tax . . . go fight some real crime
BlFalconskeep September 16, 2013 at 09:03 AM
I think that there needs to be some things done first about the drugs and violent crimes and the rest of the solutions will fall in line. Why do women practice the 2nd oldest profession nest to motherhood? 1. they need money to support themselves or children. 2. They are not educated enough to get a job. 3. They use the money to finance drugs or alcohol. Start fixing the problems that cause women to resort to prostitution and prostitution goes away on a large scale. I agree with Irene as far as "legalize, regulate and tax". The police need to start looking at what is law and following/enforcing it. Example: Someone was stealing my neighbor's bike and my husband caught them doing it and reported it- with description and the name but the culprit (we knew one of the kids involved). My husband scared the kid into dropping the bike. The officer that came out said there was nothing that could be done even though the kid dropped the bike off the property it belonged on. The law was violated when the kid attempting to steal the bike under the florida law on petty theft, so a report should have been made and measures taken to enforce the law. How are we to stop the crime if we do not start enforcing it even with our kids? Im not saying lock up every kid that makes a mistake, but sheesh, this incident looked like these kids involved had started to do it professionally with adult help. There was a truck involved in this instance. The kid jumped from the truck where there were 2 other kids in the back, grabbed the bike and started to run it to the truck when my husband scared him and he dropped it in the road, jumped in the truck and the truck sped off. Start patrolling the park with those motorized carts even after dark. As far as the motel that gives temp housing to people coming out of prison...give those ex-cons a chance guys. They served their time and need to be given a chance to show they can contribute to society. How are they to do that without proper housing and someone giving them a chance by giving them a job? Pasco needs to clean up the crime but lets prioritize guys. Drugs and lack of work is the main thing fueling the other crimes so lets start there. Get our police to start enforcing the laws. I bet we would see a huge change in the crime rate if we started simple and worked out way through it. Too many times we over complicate a situation. Its a simple case - take care of the cause and the cure will follow especially if prevented medicine is taken along the way.
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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