RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A bill passed unanimously by the Virginia General Assembly is intended to give cities like Richmond a new tool to crack down on prostitution.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the measure championed by Police Chief Alfred Durham lets cities require property owners to abate what the law calls criminal blight. In the case of prostitution, that’s defined as “the regular use of the property for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts.” The bill allows cities to pursue fines and civil actions against property owners who don’t address frequent complaints within 30 days. Del. Betsy Carr, a Democrat from Richmond who sponsored the House version of the bill, says it will be up to localities to implement a criminal blight ordinance locally and set penalties.