At today’s Leon County Commission meeting, the commissioners received a status report on crime around adult entertainment stores. The report, which found no certain causal connection between the stores and the increase in crime, was intended to help the commissioners weigh whether or not they should enact regulations for adult entertainment stores in Leon County.
There are three adult entertainment stores in the county, all of which are located within the City of Tallahassee limits. Hustler Hollywood and Rick’s Toy Box are located on North Monroe Street, and X-Mart Adult Superstore is located on Apalachee Parkway.
Because adult entertainment is recognized as “symbolic speech” protected by the First Amendment, the commission cannot regulate adult entertainment stores based solely on their content. To enact regulations, the commission would need to provide evidence of the businesses’ secondary effects, which could include crime or decreased property values.
The status report found no definitive evidence that the adult entertainment stores have 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 spanning from Nov. 1, 2018 through Oct. 31, 2020.
According to the report, X-Mart Adult Superstore had 14 incidents at the business location and 1,242 incidents total within a quarter-mile of the business. Rick’s Toy Box had two incidents at the business location and 1,175 within a quarter-mile. Hustler Hollywood had 8 incidents at the business location and 2,877 within a quarter-mile.
Staff reports that X-Mart Adult Superstore and Rick’s Toy Box saw “no clear pattern of increasing calls” over the time period. The area around Hustler Hollywood saw a sharp decrease in calls in November 2019 and a sharp increase in May 2020; overall, however, the report found no certain causal connection between the increase in crime and the opening of Hustler Hollywood, as “other circumstances may be the source of this increase, including circumstances surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.”
Although adult entertainment stores may not be the reason for the North Monroe crime increase, Leon County Commission Chairman Rick Minor has expressed concern that adult entertainment stores on North Monroe could turn the area into a red-light district, according to WFSU.
“The last thing I think I want or anyone who lives here wants is a red-light district in the most populous, most frequently, basically the highest-trafficked intersection in Tallahassee,” Minor said.
At the end of the meeting, Minor brought up the idea of creating a task force for revitalizing part of North Monroe. He said he will be revisiting the idea at a future County Commission meeting.