Monday, December 31, 2007

Could the CCV be wrong ?
I have often wondered if the leadership of the CCV, given their penchant for hanging about golf courses, could just be braindamaged due to getting hit in the head by too many errant golf balls.
Our all-knowing social guardians at the CCV have told us that strip clubs breed crime, drug abuse, prostitution, violence and blah blah.
This colla[se of civilisation was predicted in Sparta, KY, too.
It didn't happen. Law enforcement says the strip clubs are no worse and maybe even a little better than any other bar or nightclub.
Fortunately, in Ohio, we have the CCV - stalwart oppressors of liberty masquerading as soldiers of God ramrodding state wide legislation down our throats based on lies and terror.

Ladies and gentleman

By Kevin Eigelbach

An expected increase in crime has not materialized since Racers Gentlemen's Club opened in Sparta near Kentucky Speedway.

In 2000, a strip club opened its doors in tiny Sparta, population 230. Drawn by the new Kentucky Speedway there, which can pack in 70,000 fans of auto racing, the club featured topless women doing pole dances and lap dances.

Reaction to the plan was swift. Residents by and large opposed it. "Sin is sin and there is no way to cover it up,'' one caller to a Post hotline said. "It'll give Sparta a bad name.''

Pastors spoke out against it.

In a county that still banned Sunday liquor sales, lewd, topless dancing was unthinkable.

Behind much of the argument was the belief that a strip club would bring more crime, particularly drugs and prostitution, to the small town.

It's the same debate that other counties, currently Boone County, are having as they ponder new regulations on sexually oriented businesses.

Many said at the time that the crime would increase in Sparta and surrounding Gallatin County. In part citing an expected increase in crime, the Boone County Planning Commission recently approved strict limitations on where such businesses can locate. The measure still needs final approval.

One reason communities can regulate such businesses is their purported secondary effects, such as an increase in crime. But that's not what Gallatin County's experienced with Racers, say law enforcement and court officials.

The Kentucky State Police get called to Racers about as often as they do to other bars, said Trooper 1st Class Chip Perry, the spokesman for post No. 5, which covers Gallatin County.

The club has its own security, something most bars don't have, Perry said. Most of the calls for service the state police receive come from the security staff, he said.

"Hopefully, the security staff is a set of sober eyes that can assist us until we get there," he said.

The state police received three calls for service from Racers in 2005, the most recent year statistics were available, all of them from the security staff calling about drunks posing a problem.

In one case, a security officer needed help trying to prevent a drunk from driving. In another, three drunks escorted out of the club were causing trouble at the gas station next door. In the third, the staff was concerned about an intoxicated man walking alone down the highway.

As one of the county's chief prosecutors, Gallatin County Attorney Spike Wright sees firsthand where crimes happen and who commits them.

He initially thought that Racers might be contributing to an increase in crime, so he started to keep a list of reports. That soon convinced him that it wasn't any worse than any other establishment with lots of customers.

"It's just a business," he said. "There are a lot of people in and out of there."

He does see some alcohol-related cases, such as drunken driving, but those come from any establishment that serves drinks, he said.

"I've never seen a prostitution arrest from Racers," Wright said.

The club had some problems in the past with conflicts between employees escalating into fights, he said. Also, some patrons were complaining at how the club cut them off when they'd had too many drinks.

"I suggested they (management) needed to be a little less enthusiastic," Wright said. "They might have been a little rough when they threw people out. I've not had a complaint since."

Statistics from the state police show that crime is actually down in Gallatin County since Racers.

In 2006, Gallatin County had 86 of what the FBI calls "Part One" crimes. These include major crimes such as murder, rape, robbery and assault. In 1999, the year before Racers opened, the county had 96 Part One crimes.

In 2006, the county had no arrests for forcible rape. In 1999, there were two.

In 2006, the county had three arrests for sex offenses other than rape or prostitution. In 1999, it had eight.

In 2006, the county had no arrests for aggravated assault. In 1999, it had 13.

In 2006, the county had 97 arrests for driving under the influence. In 1999, it had 192.

However, arrests on narcotic drug law charges increased from 70 in 1999 to 109 in 2006. But they fell to 63 in 2001, the year after Racers opened.

D. Scott Lindsay, who manages the club as part of Lindsay Management Services, says that strip clubs have enough of a reputation without causing problems with crime. That's why his company works hard to keep the club problem-free, with programs like random drug tests of the staff, including himself, and searches of the dancers' lockers for drugs.

The company has a two-strikes-and-you're out policy on drug use, he said, with treatment mandatory after the first strike.

Surveillance cameras cover the building's interior, he said, so that the staff has a record of exactly what goes on.

If Gallatin County had the same ordinance that Boone County is contemplating, Racers might be in compliance with the requirement that sexually oriented businesses locate at least 1,000 feet from sensitive sites such as churches, homes and schools, Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore said.

The club sits on a bluff above Interstate 71, its only neighbors being the restaurant in the other half of its building, a motel and a gas station. The rest of Sparta lies nearly two miles south on Ky. 35.

The fact that one sexually oriented business might not have negatively affected local crime wouldn't deter Boone County officials from trying to regulate them, County Administrator Jeff Earlywine said.

Courts across the country have recognized studies that show negative impacts, he said. "I don't know that any study would say that in every case there are effect," he said.

"But when you look at the industry as a whole, by and large, you do have negative secondary effects."

Many who opposed the club when it moved in have now moved on. There are still those who oppose it, such as the Rev. Thomas Calloway of the Ten Mile Baptist Church.

"I don't support it or anybody that goes there," Calloway said. "We have had crime in Gallatin County, but I don't really know if it's having an effect."

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