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Borough of West Grove, PA
Chester County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of West Grove 7-1-1998 by Ord. No. 1998-05. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Peace and good order — See Ch. 296.
The purpose of this chapter is:
To create a safe, clean and law-abiding environment in and about the Borough, its public streets, sidewalks, parking lots, parks and other public areas;
To promote the Borough, as a safe, drug-free and peaceful place where citizens can visit and access all businesses, churches, neighborhoods and public accommodations and use public property without fear of obstruction, molestation or interference;
To exercise the police power to maintain the peace and public health, safety and welfare by regulating activities that interfere with others as stringently as possible, within the mandates of constitutionally protected rights; and
To prohibit unsafe, threatening and aggressive loitering and not the innocent customary activity of citizens.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
Remaining idle essentially in and about a particular area; lingering; spending time idly; loafing or walking about aimlessly in one vicinity or neighborhood; "hanging around"; sauntering or moving slowly about where the conduct is not due to physical condition or defect; prowling or wandering, irrespective of whether the conduct is on foot or in, on, or by way of parked or moving vehicle.
Any place to which the public has access including any public street, sidewalk, alley, way, parking lot, park or other public ground within the Borough or in or about the areas in front of or adjacent to any building or structure used in whole or in part for dwelling or rooming or boarding purposes or for business, amusement, commercial, mercantile, manufacturing, industrial, storage, education, recreational or religious purposes, including but not limited to a school, store, restaurant, tavern or other business.
No person shall loiter in a public place in such a manner as to:
Hinder or obstruct the free passage of pedestrians, persons or property to or from any entrance to or exit of a building, structure or vehicle and fail or refuse to move or disperse when asked to do so by a police officer;
Create or cause to be created a danger of breach of the peace or otherwise create a concern for or threaten the safety of a person or security of property; or
Molest or interfere with any person lawfully in any public place, including but not limited to the making of unsolicited remarks of an offensive, disgusting or insulting nature, or which are calculated to annoy, disturb or threaten the person to, or in whose hearing, the remarks are made.
The police shall enforce these loitering regulations. In some cases there will be no doubt that the prohibited activity has occurred, such as in the obstruction of free and safe access and passage through or upon a public way. With the other types of prohibited loitering, the police shall make a determination as to whether the activity warrants a concern for the safety of persons or security of property in the vicinity. In determining whether concern is warranted, the police may consider the following circumstances as tending to warrant concern:
The person, upon appearance of a police officer, takes flight, attempts to conceal himself or herself or any object, or refuses to identify himself or herself and explain his or her presence and conduct after a request;
The person systematically checks doors, windows or other means of ingress or egress to a building, structure or a vehicle;
Activity by the person which outwardly manifests no useful purpose or and is not usual for a law-abiding or peace-abiding person;
The continuous or repeated presence of a person in close proximity to a building, structure, vehicle or other property, or in close proximity to another person for a period of time not usual under the circumstances; or
The time of day when or the place where the activity occurs is inappropriate for the activity observed.
Where an officer has determined that the person's actions create a concern for the safety of another person or the public or security of property, the person whose conduct causes the concern shall be given an opportunity to dispel the concern by identifying himself or herself and explaining his or her presence and conduct. The actor shall not be given this opportunity if he or she takes flight upon the appearance of a police officer or attempts to conceal himself or herself or any object or if other circumstances make it impractical or unsafe for the police officer to give this opportunity.
If the actor's explanation of his or her presence or conduct to the police officer is untrue or does not dispel the concern, the officer may arrest the person or persons.
Whenever the presence of any person in any public place is causing or is likely to cause any of the conditions enumerated in § 249-3, the police may order that person to leave that place. Any person who shall refuse to leave after being ordered to do so by a police officer shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter.
When a police officer orders a person to leave an area, he or she shall not return to that area for at least two hours. If the person is found in the same area within a two-hour period of having been ordered to leave, then the person shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
Any person who violates or permits a violation of this chapter shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, be guilty of a summary offense and shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, plus court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by the Borough in the enforcement proceedings. Upon judgment against any person by summary conviction, or by proceedings by summons on default of the payment of the fine or penalty imposed and the costs, the defendant may be sentenced and committed to the county correctional facility for a period not exceeding 30 days. Each day that such violation exists shall constitute a separate offense, and each section of this chapter that is violated shall also constitute a separate offense. In addition to or in lieu of enforcement under this section, the Borough may enforce this chapter in equity in the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County.