Tampa police arrest 25 in prostitution crackdown near Nebraska Avenue

Published Feb. 18, 2012

TAMPA — A two-day sting resulted in 25 arrests after the announcement of Tampa police's new strategy to curb prostitution near Nebraska Avenue, officials said.

All 25 arrests were made in the "Prostitution Exclusion Zone," a 6 ½-square-mile area where 70 percent of prostitution-related arrests are made, police Chief Jane Castor said Friday.

The zone runs between Florida Avenue to the west, Fowler Avenue to the north, 15th Street to the east and Seventh Avenue to the south. The Nebraska Avenue corridor, which has long been known for prostitution, runs through the middle of the zone.

Before the two-day sting, police had made three arrests of known prostitutes who have been restricted from the area since November. Six more have had that condition added to their sentences, Tampa police Capt. Lee Bercaw said Thursday night.

Some of those arrested are known prostitutes, while others are johns or drug offenders.

On the first day, officers arrested four women, charging three with offering to commit prostitution. They also arrested four men, charging them with soliciting to commit prostitution.

On the second day, 17 men were arrested on charges including soliciting to commit prostitution, offering to commit prostitution, cocaine possession and parole violation.