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Crackdown coming on Hemet hourly motels

January 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Riverside County and city of Hemet officials are looking at ways to deal with motels they say rent out rooms by the hour and are a magnet for crime.

People in Hemet say Florida Avenue is a hot spot for prostitution and human trafficking.

"We see people that are regularly provocatively dressed, walking up and down the street, getting into cars," said Sonya Feigen of Hemet.

"When we're sitting at our desks, we do see the prostitutes walking down the street in their short shorts," said Meredith Wollenschlager. "I have personally seen across the street a prostitute being picked up by an older gentlemen."

Some lawmakers are working to determine whether these motels should be prohibited from offering hourly rates and preventing places from knowingly allowing prostitutes to book rooms.

Though the Riverside County Board of Supervisors has no jurisdiction in the city of Hemet, they unanimously voted Tuesday to pursue drafting an ordinance to crack down on hotels with hourly rates.

"I am not going to rest until the prostitution issues in the Third District and especially the Hemet valley go away," said Jeff Stone, the District 3 supervisor.

The Hemet City Council is thinking about its own ordinance to deal with the issue. The police department has at least one video camera along Florida Avenue to monitor the area, but people say something more need to be done.

Managers at some of the alleged hourly motels declined to comment.

Riverside County said it's going to look at how other cities have drafted similar ordinances before moving forward.


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