New Port Richey police chief looking to get tougher on prostitution problem

City checking out stricter ordinances

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - We've been along with authorities on undercover stings in Pasco County.

Some going after prostitutes, other times it's the John's trying to pick them up.

But the problem continues along US-19 in Pasco County.

And for business owners like David Yepes, enough is enough. "This needs to be addressed immediately."

David who owns The King of Wraps says he sees prostitutes walking up and down US-19 daily, sometimes right through his parking lot.

"We notice that as soon as they are out there, they get targeted really quickly. You see them left and right all the time."

New Port Richey police chief Kim Bogart knows the problem is bad.

As soon as prostitutes get out of jail, they are back on the streets.

So he and city officials are actively looking at adding an ordinance to give authorities more power.

"We don't want to waste our time, enforcing something that later gets thrown out."

Ordinances in other parts of Florida allow police to give citations even before any actual transaction for sex takes place.

"It had to do with the gesturing that someone can do to a vehicle that's passing by, waving them over, the prostitutes walking in circles, waving at drivers and trying to attract them over," said Bogart.

There are also ordinances that can cite those trying to pick up prostitutes, just for circling around in their cars.

And another possibility is setting up special zone, where known prostitutes can be arrested for trespassing.

Bogart says because some might argue constitutional violations for some of these actions, city attorney's are looking into what is legal and what will work best for New Port Richey.

"It's a good thing as long as they pursue it the correct way, and they run with it and never stop," said Yepes.

The chief hopes to have a new ordinance passed within a matter of months.

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