Loitering Is No. 1 Reason Police Called To Bookstores

December 08, 1991|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff writer

The Harford Sheriff's Office has responded to crimes at the four adult bookstores in the county 65 times in the past 18 months, accordingto the department's records.

The incidents included loitering, vandalism, theft, armed robberies and prostitution, said Cpl. Terry Noye, records officer at the sheriff's office.

Noye and Cpl. Joseph Higgins provided the statistics to the 13 members of a committee drafting a bill to regulate adult bookstores at the panel's meeting Friday.

"From our standpoint, I'm not saying it's an outrageous number as opposed to other businesses," Higgins said. "But it does appear to be high."

County Councilman Philip J. Barker, D-District F, has said the bill is needed to regulate unlawful activity at adult bookstores. The bill would require shop owners to get annual operating licenses and allow county inspections of the businesses.

An initial search through the sheriff's records two weeks ago at the request of this newspaper did not show any police responses to the shops. Noye said he conducted a more thorough search this week and found the 65 complaints.

The department received most of the calls -- 16 of them -- for loitering outside the shops, the statistics show. Another eight calls were to report disorderly conduct in and outside of the businesses.

The shops also reported four armed robberies and six thefts, according to the the statistics. There were two calls reporting that a prostitute was standing outside one of the shops.

Higgins noted that most of the calls came from shops ownersor employees. The police record listing the incidents did not specify at which shop the complaints originated.

Harford State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly said some victims of crime won't report an incident so the public doesn't find out they were at an adult bookstore.

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