Thursday, June 11, 2009

Neighbors Form Group to Reduce Crime Along Nebraska Ave

Press Release: With the recent rise in prostitution and illegal activities along the Nebraska Avenue Corridor, residents have begun an initiative to create a Nebraska Avenue Alliance to attack the problem head-on. The goal of the group will be to focus on the Quality of Life issues that affect the major North-South Corridor through our neighborhoods. The Alliance held their first meeting to discuss issues that affect the entire corridor which runs from Downtown Tampa to the county line. Residents representing each neighborhood bound by the corridor, were invited to participate. In addition to each neighborhood being represented, the group has also enlisted legal counsel to assist with researching various laws and Florida Statutes. “Until now, efforts have been limited to a specific neighborhood or small stretch of the Nebraska Corridor” says Stan Lasater, a Seminole Heights resident. “When one neighborhood becomes active in attacking the problem, we seem to push the problem onto someone else.”

While many call prostitution a victimless crime, those along the Nebraska Avenue Corridor know that the effects of prostitution have a lasting negative impact on our neighborhoods. After residents were told by TPD leaders that "our hands are tied" and "our plan is to continue making arrests. The problem is we have not been consistent,” neighbors felt the need to take action. Neighbors feel that our city officials have no plan or long term vision to improve the issues that affect the Nebraska Avenue Corridor.

The Group will focus on issues such as:

How businesses can play a vital role in decreasing prostitution
Local and state laws (i.e. mapping, precursors to prostitution)
Comparing cities and cases across the nation with Tampa
Working with major media outlets to publish names of prostitution related arrests
Long term treatment programs
Community policing
Tampa Police arrest procedures
Working with Code Enforcement along the corridor
Working with TECO to increase corridor lighting
Identifying various grants that may assist with the clean up efforts
Establishing a no-prostitution zone with harsher penalties
Working with the Judicial System to institute a no leniency policy for 2nd time offenders

By creating the Nebraska Avenue Alliance, we are hopeful that we can address many of the problems in unison, thereby eliminating the environment that encourages the illegal activity.

For more information, please contact Stan Lasater, 813-391-5855