New Port Richey is a city of approximately 26,000 residents, located in the northern suburbs of Clearwater and Tampa in Pasco County, Florida. Street prostitution, particularly along the U.S. 19 corridor, has posed significant problems to the community, including cases of prostitution-related homicides. For example, in one case a john was robbed and murdered by a prostituted woman in 2010 in New Port Richey. In October 2014, local residents met with city officials to complain about rampant street prostitution in the U.S. 19 area. Among their concerns, residents reported frequently being solicited by both johns and prostituted women in , including an 18-year-old female resident in the Bellview Avenue area who noted that she had been “approached and verbally accosted in her driveway and by her mailbox” by johns attempting to solicit her.
To address such issues, the New Port Richey Police Department and Pasco County Sheriff’s Office have conducted street-level reverse stings to combat the demand that drives commercial sex markets. Officers report that anti-prostitution efforts are often driven by persistent complaints from residents and local businesses. Once arrested, johns’ names are often publicized by the media. In September 2013, the NPR Chief of Police announced that he was researching new city ordinances meant to get tougher on prostitution, particularly the sex buyers. Options discussed were SOAP orders and ordinances allowing police to cite individuals for repeatedly circling known prostitution “tracks” in vehicles, which would be applied to johns.
- Street-Level Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “4 Women Accused of Soliciting Prostitution”, St. Petersburg Times, June 13 1992.
- “Pasco: 2 Ran Sex Service, Police Say”, Tampa Bay Times, March 22 2003.
- “Where Worlds Collide, They Want Their Neighborhood Back”, Tampa Bay Times, July 31 2006.
- “11 Arrested on Various Charges in Prostitution Sting on U.S. 19”, St. Petersburg Times, August 17 2007.
- “Police Target U.S. 19 Prostitution”, Tampa Bay Times, January 10 2008.
- “New Port Richey Police Raid Massage Parlor, Make Prostitution Arrest”, Tampa Bay Times, April 27 2012.
- “Prostitution Sting on U.S. 19 Nets Arrests”, New Port Richey Patch, October 5 2012.
- “NPR Looks to Put Chronic Nuisances on Notice”, Suncoast News, June 14 2013.
- “Police Chief Looking to Crack Down on Prostitution”, Bay News 9, September 20 2013.
- “New Port Richey Fights Back Against Prostitution”, Tampa Tribune, November 9 2013.
- “Crime along U.S. 19 Still Riling Residents”, Suncoast News, October 10 2014.
- Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area: