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New Port Richey is a city of approximately 17,000 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 2010, a sex buyer was robbed and murdered by a prostituted woman in New Port Richey. In October 2014, 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 sex buyers and prostituted women. An example of this is when an 18-year-old female resident from the Bellview Avenue area complained that she had been “approached and verbally accosted in her driveway and by her mailbox” by sex buyers 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 persistent complaints from residents and local businesses often drive anti-prostitution efforts. Once arrested, sex buyers’ 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 be 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 sex buyers.
Street-Level Reverse Stings with Identity Disclosure:
- “Reverse Prostitution Sting Nets Multiple Arrests”, New Port Richey Patch, June 15 2012.
- “16 Arrested in Pasco Prostitution Sting”, ABC/WFTS-TV 28, May 30 2013.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 8 Arrests; Operation Johnnie Be Good Was Staged on Friday,” Tarpon Springs Patch, November 10 2014.
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: