Loitering (pronEng|ˈlɔɪtərɪŋ is an
intransitive verbmeaning to stand idly, to stop numerous times, or to delay and procrastinate.
Prohibition and History
Loitering may be prohibited by local governments in several countries. Loitering prohibitions are particularly common in the
United States, the United Kingdomand the Russian Federation, although they are used throughout the world.
Loitering laws are often tracked back to late 15th century English
Local areas vary on the degree to which
policeare empowered to arrest loiterers; limitations on their power are sometimes made over concerns regarding racial profiling.
Jamaicathe Supreme Courtdismissed an appealregarding a case of loitering near a playground by a man convicted of child abuse. (see R. v. Heywood).
Minneapolisfor example, loitering on public property is not actually a crime. [ [http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/police/crime-reporting/loitering.asp Report Loitering] ]
In 1992, the City of
Chicagoadopted an anti-loitering law ( [http://www.abanet.org/publiced/youth/fall99chicago.html Chicago Municipal Code 8-4-015 (1992)] ) aimed at restricting gangrelated activity, especially violent crime and drug trafficking. [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2194/is_9_68/ai_56750218 Gang Congregation Ordinance: Supreme Court Invalidation] ] The law, which defined loitering as "remain(ing) in any one place with no apparent purpose", gave police officers a right to disperse such persons and in case of disobedience, provided for a punishment by fine, imprisonment and/or community service. It was struck down by the Supreme Court of the United States(" Chicago v. Morales", ussc|527|41|1999) as unacceptably vague and not giving citizens clear guidelines on what the acceptable conduct was. In 2000, the city adopted a [http://www.crfc.org/gangs.html revised version of the ordinance] , eliminating the unconstitutional elements. Loitering was then defined as "remaining in any one place under circumstances that would warrant a reasonable person to believe that the purpose or effect of that behavior is to enable a criminal street gang to establish control over identifiable areas, to intimidate others from entering those areas, or to conceal illegal activities"
Portland, Oregona wide range of measures have been enacted to tackle loitering and related issues. [http://www2.co.multnomah.or.us/cfm/da/NDAP/index.cfm?fuseaction=strategies&menu=37&title=loitering]
Although loitering laws date back to 16th Century England, in the
United Statesthey have long been used for expressly racist purposes. After the Civil Warthey were used in conjunction with vagrancy laws to reinforce a state of quasi-slavery for African Americansin the South ["Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review". Volume 37.] . During the Civil Rights era, they were used to break up protests (by arresting the protesters), and were used on at least one occasion to prevent court testimony by Martin Luther King, Jr.(who was arrested for loitering in the courthouse) [Hendrickson, Paul. "Sons of Mississippi: A Story of Race and Its Legacy". Alfred A. Knopf. New York: 2003.] .
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.