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Commissioner: Prostitution on North Trail seems to be getting worse.

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Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 10:18 pm

SARASOTA-- On Monday night, Sarasota City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo told his fellow Commissioners that prostitution on the North Trail seems to be getting worse.

Caragiulo said he had been talking with several people who live and work in the area, and they were concerned over the issue. Caragiulo asked that Police Chief Bernadette DiPino address the issue in the near future.

We spoke with DiPino on Tuesday who admits there is still a problem on the Trail.

"It has been going on for 30 years," DiPino said. "What I can assure the citizens is that it is not going to continue for another 30 years. I can assure them that we are going to aggressively try to reduce this, if not eliminate this problem as soon as possible."

Jay Patel, who owns the Regency Inn on North 41, says the problem isn't getting any better.

"I have definitely seen an increase in the past few weeks around here," said Patel. "If there is a concentrated effort between the city staff and police on a constant basis--- to send the message out that we are serious about this--- it's going to change."

Sean Connelly is also hoping for that change. He lives a block away from the highway.

"I'm a 40 year resident of this neighborhood. This is probably the worst I have ever seen it. It is something that has to be dealt with and should be one of our city's top priorities. We try hard to get people here. When they get here, this is what they see," said Connelly.

Why the sudden boom in prostitution? Drugs could have a lot to do with it, said DiPino. Both prescription pills and heroin are in demand, and many of the prostitutes make their money to buy the drugs.

DiPino says her department will be very proactive over the next few months. She also admits that it's her goal to find different services for the prostitutes that will hopefully help them change their lives around.

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1 comment:

  • jb71187 posted at 11:54 pm on Tue, Jul 2, 2013.

    jb71187 Posts: 1

    Glad to see the coverage of this problem by the Suncoast 7 Team.
    This is a complex and costly problem which most people do not understand UNLESS you live or work in the "direct" area, BUT make NO mistake, that this part of town, and what goes on here, effects this ENTIRE city.
    This is an issue of morality,Public safety, public health,commerce, tourism, and growth.
    What I can attest to, as working in this area for the past 11 years, is that this is NOT strictly a S.P.D. ,responsibility, from my experience the S.PD. had done a good job, doing what they can, It is NOT strictly a responsibility of the City Government, They ARE BOTH an integral PART of solving this, along with the COMMUNITY! and the business owners here who "play by the rules", WE ALL have to have a part in the solution.And we need to ALL work together!
    There are a small part of the business owners/operators in this district that are making a living off the illegal activity and that is PART of the problem that needs to be addressed.
    The Police, City Government, news media, and people who work and live in this district, MUST ALL WORK TOGETHER to STOP what goes on here to restore, maybe for the first time, this beautiful, important part of this town.