At today’s meeting of the Leon County Commission, the commissioners received a status report on crime in adult entertainment stores. The report, which found no definite causal link between the deals and the rise in crime, was intended to help commissioners weigh whether or not to regulate adult entertainment deals in Leon County.
There are three adult entertainment stores in the county, all within the boundaries of Tallahassee City. Hustler Hollywood and Rick’s Toy Box are on North Monroe Street, and the X-Mart Adult Superstore is on Apalachee Parkway.
Since adult entertainment is recognized as “symbolic language” protected by the first amendment, the Commission cannot regulate adult entertainment deals solely on the basis of their content. In order to legislate, the Commission would need to demonstrate the secondary impacts of businesses, which could include crime or degraded property.
The status report found no definitive evidence that the adult entertainment businesses caused an increase in crime. The report included crime data from Tallahassee Online Police Statistics (TOPS) for the area within a quarter mile of each of the three establishments from November 1, 2018 through October 31, 2020.
According to the report, the X-Mart Adult Superstore had 14 incidents at the company location and a total of 1,242 incidents within a quarter mile of the store. Rick’s Toy Box had two incidents at the company location and 1,175 within a quarter mile. Hustler Hollywood had 8 incidents at the company location and 2,877 within a quarter mile.
Employees report that “no clear pattern of increasing calls” was found in the X-Mart Adult Superstore and Rick’s Toy Box during the reporting period. In the Hustler Hollywood area, calls fell sharply in November 2019 and rose sharply in May 2020. Overall, however, the report found no specific causal link between the increase in crime and the opening of Hustler Hollywood, as “other circumstances may be causing this increase, including those related to the coronavirus pandemic”.
While adult entertainment stores may not be the cause of the rise in crime in North Monroe, Leon County Commission chairman Rick Minor has raised concerns that adult entertainment stores in North Monroe could turn the area into a red light district, according to WFSU.
“The last thing I think I want or whoever lives here is a red light district in the most populous, busiest intersection in Tallahassee,” said Minor.
At the end of the meeting, Minor came up with the idea of setting up a task force to revitalize part of North Monroe. He said he would reconsider the idea at a future county commission meeting.