[Mintwood-place] New Legislation To Help Police Prevent Crime in
"Hot Spot" Areas
jim at grahamwone.com
Fri Jul 15 12:48:00 GMT 2005
Dear Friends: Yesterday, I introduced legislation to create no-loitering
zones in designated high-crime areas of the District of Columbia.
Unlike general anti-loitering laws (which have been struck down by the
courts as unconstitutionally vague), there is nothing vague about this
legislation or the drug free zone law it amends. It criminalizes
specific conduct, namely congregating for the purpose of engaging in
illegal drug activity. It does so only in specific geographic areas,
namely those areas designated as high-crime "hot spots." It provides
would-be "loiterers" in hot spots specific notice of the law and its
purposes. It establishes specific standards any police officer must
take into account before issuing an order to disperse. Finally, no
penalties apply to any person unless and until that person disobeys a
This is an expansion of current District law, which provides that police
who reasonably believe drug activity is taking place or is about to take
place can order loiterers to disperse from an area known as a "drug free
zone." The Chief can declare such a zone temporarily in areas where drug
crimes frequently occur.
The Graham legislation would give police the same ability in areas
designated by the Chief as "hot spots." Hot spots are high-crime areas
that receive increased, concentrated police attention and city services.
There are currently three Ward One hot spots designated by the Chief of
the Metropolitan Police Department.
This bill would give police the ability to break up drug activity before
it happens and thus help restore order to our streets and sidewalks.
I typically answer emails before 9 AM on weekdays. If you email me after
that, it is likely that you will hear from me the next weekday. If there
is a need to communicate prior to that, you may wish to call me.
Jim Graham, Councilmember, Ward One, 1350 Pa. Ave., NW, #105,
Washington, DC 20004. 202-724-8181; 202-724-8109 (fax).
Chairman, Committee on Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Main Committee
Number: 202-724-8198. 1350 Pa. Ave., NW, #112, Washington, DC 20004.
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