Legislation aimed at cleaning up neighborhoods overrun with prostitutes, pimps and customers has won the approval of both a Senate subcommittee and full committee and is headed to the full Senate for a vote. Thats according to Senator Keith Leftwich. The South Oklahoma City Senator said he and House of Representatives co-author Al Lindley are gratified their colleagues are taking this problem seriously.
I cant say it enough. This is not a victimless crime. Weve had young children walking home from school propositioned by men looking for prostitutes. The ground has been littered with needles, syringes and other disgusting evidence of whats been going on. These citizens want their streets and their neighborhoods cleaned up, and we intend to do that, said Senator Leftwich.
Part of the focus of the legislation is to make the business of prostitution too expensive for those involved. Among the changes in state law the bill would make:
In addition fines for customers would be raised to $3,000 for a first offense and $6,000 for subsequent offenses. The bill would also make prostitution and pimping within 1,000 feet of a school or church a felony. This is a serious crime, and we mean to make the penalties just as serious, said Representative Lindley.
Obviously, none of these changes by themselves will make the problem go away. I want to give credit to the neighborhood associations and Oklahoma County Sheriff John Wetsels office for helping step up patrols in the area. Its made an impact already. But hopefully with this additional legislation, we can finally drive these criminals out of our neighborhoods for good, said Senator Leftwich.