Truck stop is ordered to prevent prostitution
BY KRISTI EATON Associated Press
Sunday, April 10, 2011
4/10/11 at 5:45 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - An Oklahoma County District Court judge has ordered the owners of a local truck stop to take greater measures to combat prostitution on its premises.
Judge Bryan Dixon ruled Thursday that owners of Five Star Truck Stop, located in far northeast Oklahoma City, must increase signage, enhance fencing to the property, improve lighting and video monitoring capabilities and hire security guards.
The lawsuit was brought by the city of Oklahoma City on behalf of the local police department.
"The court ruled in our favor on it, which is not only a good thing for us, it's a good thing for the community," said Sgt. Gary Knight, spokesman for the Oklahoma City Police Department.
He said the lawsuit was filed after company owners repeatedly refused to do anything to stop prostitution from happening on the property, which is located close to a residential community.
"It's been over a year that we'd been negotiating with the owners and management," Knight said. "Basically, they refused to comply with the law. At that point, we were really left with no alternative."
Knight said Oklahoma City police regularly receive tips about prostitutes at the truck stop and have arrested several women for soliciting prostitution in the past.
Mian Rashid, owner of Five Star Truck Stop, said the store has been following orders from Oklahoma City police. Many of the prostitution problems stem from before he bought the store a year and a half ago, Rashid said.
Rashid said the store has enacted measures, including hiring two security guards and adding video surveillance, in the past six months that have reduced prostitution by about 90 percent.
"It's hard to stop it 100 percent at a truck stop," he said.
Maulik Sharma, also of Five Star Truck Stop, said the store now notifies police when prostitutes arrive on the property.