RECOMMENDATION 29

Part: 
Three
Chapter: 
2

State and local law enforcement agencies should allocate sufficient personnel to conduct intensive and thorough investigations of any violations of the obscenity laws.

State and local law enforcement agencies in many regions have devoted insufficient manpower to investigation and enforcement of the obscenity laws. This has led to reactive law enforcement where police may respond to citizen complaints made about obscene materials but do not otherwise initiate investigations.[293]

The Los Angeles Police Department has sixty-seven hundred officers, but only eight are assigned to the pornography unit.[294] Los Angeles is the center of production of obscene material in the United States.[295] The Chicago Police Department has twelve thousand officers, but only two are assigned to their obscene matter unit.[296] The Buffalo, New York, police department has one thousand officers with one officer assigned to obscenity law violations.[297] In Chicago, the unit investigating obscenity violations has requested additional manpower but such requests have been denied by higher authorities within their police departments.[298]

Intensive and thorough investigations of possible obscenity violations cannot be conducted unless sufficient manpower is devoted to the task. The need for additional manpower is even more critical in those jurisdictions with large scale pornography operations where investigations are more complex and time consuming.

Chiefs of police and supervisory personnel must also be responsive to requests for additional manpower should the obscenity problem warrant more intensive investigation. These responses may take the form of additional investigative personnel on a temporary or permanent basis.[299] Supervisory personnel also should recognize the complexity of this assignment and be receptive to requests for frequent in-service training programs. Once the obscenity problem has been effectively addressed law enforcement agencies should need only minimal manpower to maintain control.

Notes

  1. See, supra note 174 for discussion of proactive and reactive enforcement and prosecution.
  2. Chicago Hearing, Vol. II, Donald Smith, p. 46.
  3. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, James Docherty, p. 6.
  4. Chicago Hearing, Vol. I, Thomas Balding, p. 13.
  5. Chicago Hearing, Vol. II, John Dugan, p. 193.
  6. Chicago Hearing, Vol. II, Officer Tom Bohling, p. 14; Miami Hearing, Vol. I, Sergeant Mike Berish, p. 85-86.
  7. In Cincinnati, Ohio, the focus on obscenity law violations is reported to have resulted in a significant decrease of reported crimes. Statistics of Reporting Area-14-800 & 900 Block of Vine Street, which had (1) Massage Parlor, (2) X-Rated Bookstores and (1) "Soft Core" Movie Theater in 1974, all closed by 1979.
  8. 1974

    PART I OFFENSES (MAJOR)
    2  -  Rapes
    29  -  Robberies
    7  -  Agg. Assaults
    24  -  Breaking/Enterings
    63  -  Larcenies
    24  -  Thefts
     17  -  Non - Agg. Offense
    166  -  TOTAL
    PART II ARRESTS (MINOR)
    14  -  Assaults
    2  -  Forgeries
    3  -  Frauds
    1  -  Embezzlement
    2  -  Vandalism
    7  -  Weapons Violations
    52  -  Prostitution Offenses
      4  -  Other Sex Offenses
    85  -  TOTAL

    1979

    PART I OFFENSES
    8  -  Robberies
    4  -  Agg. Assaults
    1  -  Breaking/Entering
     15  -  Larcenies
    28  -  TOTAL
    PART II ARRESTS
    1  -  Sex Offense
    10  -  Drug Abuse
    1  -  Gambling Offense
    31  -  Disorderly Conduct
    1  -  Vagrancy
      5  -  Other Offenses
    49  -  TOTAL

    The above statistics represent an 83% decrease in Part I offenses, 42.35% decrease in Part II arrests. Letter from Lieutenant Harold Mills to Alan E. Sears (July 29, 1985).

    The Phoenix Ordinance was based on two hypotheses: first, that there are direct impacts which uniquely relate to this class of land use; and second, that there are indirect, but equally potent, attitudinal concerns which result from proximity to an adult business. Examples of the former are possible traffic congestion, unusual hours of operations, litter, noise, and criminal activity. Illustrating the latter is substantial testimony that has indicated that many neighborhood residents dislike living near an area containing an adult business. Also, financial institutions take nearby adult businesses into account when financing residential properties. Finally, people's perceptions of criminal activity is reinforced by a great incidence of sexual crimes in areas of commercial districts containing adult businesses.

    This study specifically shows that there is a higher amount of sex offenses committed in neighborhoods in Phoenix containing adult businesses as opposed to neighborhoods without them. In this project three study areas were chosen-neighborhoods with adult businesses, and three control areas-neighborhoods without adult businesses which were paired to certain population and land use characteristics. The amount of property crimes, violent crimes, and sex offenses from the year 1978 are compared in each study and control area.

    THE STUDY AND CONTROL AREAS

    Three different study areas containing adult businesses were selected to collect crime data. The east side of Central Avenue was chosen for the location of two study areas, while the west side was the third study area.

    A control area has no adult business, but generally speaking, has similar population characteristics of a matched study area in terms of:

    1. Number of residents
    2. Median family income
    3. Percentage of non-white population
    4. Median age of the population
    5. Percentage o£ dwelling units built since 1950
    6. Percentage of acreage used residentially and non-residentially

    Adult business locations are based on information furnished by the Department and verified by the Planning Department.

    CONCLUSIONS

    Table V Property, Violent, and Sex Crimes in Selected Study Areas-1978 (was derived from information provided by the City of Phoenix Police Department's Crime Analysis unit and Planning and Research Bureau. The data from these two sections was compiled by adding the number by type of crimes committed in police grids, which are quarter mile neighborhoods. Crimes are based on arrest records and do not reflect ultimate convictions. (It has been assumed that conviction rates will be proportional to arrest rates.) is a tabulation of the number of crimes committed and the rate of those crimes per 1,000 people living in each area.

    There appears to be a significantly greater difference between the study and control areas for sex crimes than for either property or violent crimes. The following table illustrates a comparison of the ratio of the crime rate of the study area to the control area:

    Table V

    Crime Rates As a Percentage of Study Area to Control Area

    Study Area
    Property Crimes
    Violent Crimes
    Sex Crimes
    Sex Crimes (Less Indecent Exposure)
    I
    147%
    144%
    1135%
    358%
    II
    173
    83
    277
    160
    III
    108
    86
    405
    178
    Average:
    143%
    104%
    606%
    232%

    It is observed that there are about 40% more property crimes and about the same rate of violent crimes per 1,000 persons in the Study Areas as compared to the Control Area.

    On the other hand there is an average of six times the sex crime rate in the Study Areas as compared with the Control areas. Although the majority of sex crimes are Indecent Exposure, the fourth column illustrates that the remainder of the sex crimes also exhibit a significantly higher rate in the study areas. A detective from the police department stated that most indecent exposure crimes were committed on adult business premises. An example of this finding is in Study Area I. In that location, 89% of the reported indecent exposure crimes were committed at the addresses of adult businesses.

    Where there is a concentration of adult businesses, such as in Study Area I, the difference in sex offense rates is most significant. As stated earlier in the report this location has four adult businesses which are less than 1,000 feet away from each other and less than 500 feet away from a residential district. There is also a higher number of sex offenses committed-84 more crimes than in Study Area II, and 56 more crimes than in Study Area III. Similarly, when compared to its Control Area, the sex crime rate, per 1,000 residences is over 11 times as great in Study Area 1. In the remaining study areas, which each contain a single adult business, their rates are four and almost three times as great.