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Huntington Adopts New Loitering Ordinance

Huntington Adopts New Loitering Ordinance For Inside City Limits (a) It shall be unlawful for any person to loiter in, on, or about any place, public or private, when such loitering is accompanied by activity that afford probably cause for alarm or concern for the safety and well-being of people or the security of property in the surrounding area. (b) The following definitions shall apply to this section.

Loiter: includes the following activities: the walking about aimlessly without apparent purpose; lingering; hanging around; lagging behind; the idle spending of time; delaying; sauntering and moving slowly about, where such conduct is not due to physical defects or conditions. Place. Public or private, includes, but is not limited to, the following: all places commonly known as being distinctively public, such as public streets, public restrooms, sidewalks, parks, parking lots, alleyways, and buildings; all places privately owned but open to the public, such as shopping centers, retail stores, office parking lots, buildings, and restaurants; and all places distinctively private, such as homes or private residences, public housing and apartment housing, surrounding area. Included are areas easily and immediately accessible to the person or persons under observation.

(c) Examples of loitering activities. The term “loiter” is herein defined to include any of the following activities, although this list is not meant to be all inclusive. (1) Lingering in the streets, sidewalks, parking lots, or vicinity of a business, in which the person has no ownership or employment interest, either within or outside of a vehicle, when the premises are not open for business to the public; (2) Failure to leave private property when requested to do so by the owner, manager, proprietor, or lessees of such property, or conspicuous sign stating “No Loitering”; (3) Walking, standing, driving a motorized vehicle, or parking a vehicle in the business district or nonresidential areas of the city under circumstances that show no apparent business or employment related need for such activity; (4) Lingering in the streets, alleys, sidewalks, or vicinity of a residence, either within or outside of a vehicle, without the permission of the owner or tenant of the residence; (5) Lingering in the street, sidewalks, parks, or other public places, either within or outside of a vehicle, under circumstances that show no apparent reason or business to do so; (6) The systematic checking by a person of doors, windows, or other means of access to buildings, houses, or vehicles; (7) Repeated activity by a person, continuous or broken, which outwardly manifests no purpose, such as going from one place to another and back with no showing of use for such movements; and/or (8) Continuous presence by a person in close proximity to any building, house, vehicle, or any other property or to any other person at any time when the activity of such person manifests possible unlawful activity, such as continuous presence being for an unreasonable period of time under the circumstances then existing.

(d) Exemptions. The following activities shall not be considered loitering and shall be exempt from the provisions of this subchapter. (1) A person shall not be considered loitering while in direct route, and not lingering, to or from work or to or from place of residence. (2) A person shall not be considered loitering while engaged in the repair of a disabled vehicle. (3) A person under the age of eighteen (18) shall not be considered loitering while engaged in or in direct route to school, church, or entertainment activities with permission of his or her parent or guardian. (4) A person shall not be considered loitering while sleeping in a vehicle, provided the vehicle is parked on private property with the permission of the owner or manager of the premises, or if the vehicle is parked on public property and the person has the specific permission of a police officer.

(e) Not a limitation. Nothing in this section shall be construed to in any way limit the present police authority or any law enforcement officers of the city to make any investigation, detention, or arrest as circumstances may warrant in the usual course or the enforcement of the laws and ordinances applicable to such cases.

(f) Penalty. Any person violating a provision, upon conviction, is punishable by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500). Any person, firm or corporation within the corporate limits of the city who violates any provision of this chapter shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed the amount of five hundred dollars ($500). Each day during which a violation continues shall be considered a separate offense.

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