Councilwoman calls for prostitution crackdown
BATON ROUGE - Metro Councilwoman Tara Wicker wants to give more teeth to laws that are meant to keep prostitutes off the streets of Baton Rouge.
"I really believe that the laws we currently have on the books that are related to enforcement of soliciting prostitutes are far too weak," Wicker said, and some business owners agree.
Chet Simpson has been doing business on Florida Boulevard for 10 years, and says prostitution near his store is an ongoing problem.
"When we see that in the neighborhood were constantly running them off or calling the police on them. The police do come and do a good job, but usually they come right back," Simpson said.
Wicker says she wants prostitution and soliciting prostitutes changed from a misdemeanor to a felony. Until that happens, Wicker wants the city to collect money from people who haven't paid their fines.
"Hopefully we'll make sure that they realize that you can not commit crimes and just continue to act like a normal average citizen as if you have never done anything wrong," Wicker said.
Simpson agrees, he wants the law changed, but says he's not going to let prostitutes put him out of business.
"Simpson's has been here 50 years, we're not going anywhere, they're not going to run me off this block, that's for sure," Simpson said.
Out of more than 100-thousand outstanding warrants, about 350 are for prostitution or soliciting prostitutes.