People Frustrated with Prostitution in Ashland, Ky. Neighborhood

ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- People in an Ashland neighborhood are frustrated with prostitutes lingering near their homes and businesses.

Police said they've been tackling the problem for more than a year now, with increased patrols and undercover operations.

Officers said they've seen a difference. But, neighbors said the problem is still there and they just want it to go away.

While some businesses along Carter Avenue and 23rd Street have posted "no trespassing" and "no soliciting" signs on their windows, they said the problem still lurks in the streets and alleys outside.

Willia Skeans walks down Carter Avenue often. Some days, she said she sees plenty of prostitutes. "There has been some vehicles that has pulled up in front of my home and have picked them up," said Skeans.

People in the neighborhood said the problem is wearing thin on their patience.

"You see them all the time, mostly when it's really warm out," said Danielle Chatterton, who works nearby.

Some said prostitutes can be found in alleys and others along the main streets.

"They sit alongside, down through 23rd and Carter, they walk up and down, there are many times they've tried to proposition our patients," said Chatterton.

Ashland Police said they've been battling the issue for about two years, much of it motivated by drugs. "When that activity increases, we increase our activities," said Ashland Police Maj. Todd Kelley.

Just last year, police said they issued 17 citations for prostitution violations.

In the past four years, the Boyd County Circuit Clerk's office said there have been nearly 40.

Officers said they haven't issued a citation for a few months now.

"As to what it was last year and the year before, it is an obvious improvement," said Maj. Kelley.

Police said the offense is considered non-arrestable in Kentucky, limiting what they can do compared to cities like Huntington.

"We're still taking action even though we can't physically take someone into custody," said Maj. Kelley.

People like Skeans said having that police presence in the neighborhood makes them feel a little safer.

Neighbors also said the problem has calmed down some.

While Ashland Police cannot arrest someone for prostitution, the fines can get steep.

Depending on the misdemeanor, the fine could be as much as $500 if someone is found guilty.

Ashland Police said anyone can make a difference in getting rid of the problem by calling in tips with details like personal appearance and time and location.

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