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Taking a Stand Against Criminal Loitering
This week I introduced an anti-loitering bill in the D.C. Council to help prevent crime.
The bill would allow the Chief of Police to create “no loitering” zones that are similar to drug free zones and prostitution free zones already in use. The “no loitering” zones would cover hotspots for crime based on police statistics. The hotspots would also be determined by whether the loitering will likely continue and if it poses a danger to people.
I have crafted this bill carefully to ensure that we are respecting our citizens’ Constitutional rights. This bill ensures we only will be targeting areas where crimes can be linked to loitering.
We know that loitering often leads to quality of life crimes or other serious offenses such as robbery and assaults. However, loitering has been hard to fight without a law such as this in the District.
This is the third time I have introduced an anti-loitering bill. The bill has been referred to the Council’s Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary chaired by Councilmember Mendelson. A public hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, 2009.