Massage parlor operators will have to undergo tightened regulations before opening up shops.
The City Council on Monday unanimously approved a revision in the municipal code that strengthens laws governing masseuses, massage parlors and massage schools.
"Our current ordinance does not deal with some of the issues our police have to deal with today," said Police Chief Richard M. Tefank.
His department recently cracked down on several businesses that advertised themselves as acupuncture or massage parlors and were found to be fronts for prostitution, he said.
Under the new law, city officials can make background criminal checks for masseuses and verify if they have had proper training before issuing a permit.
The law also allows police to check associates listed on applications for massage parlors to determine if any of them have criminal backgrounds.
Tefank said that the new policy is a legitimate way for the city to protect the public from business fraud.
"We check people who drive taxicabs, but we do not check people who give massages," he said. "We are adding significant background and enforcement checks to significantly protect the public."
The ordinance, which will have to be approved by the council at a second reading next month, will not be retroactive.
Tefank said he will present a schedule of fines for violators at a future meeting.