[HISTORY: Adopted by the Merchantville Borough Council 3-26-1973 by Ord. No. 476. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Anti-Loitering Ordinance of the Borough of Merchantville."
It shall be unlawful for any person to loiter or prowl in any place, public or private, at any time in such manner as to:
Create or cause to be created a danger of the breach of the peace.
Create or cause to be created a disturbance or annoyance to the safety of any person.
Warrant alarm for the safety of persons or property in the vicinity.
Obstruct the free passage of persons or vehicles.
Obstruct, molest or interfere with any person lawfully in any public place.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- LOITERING and/or PROWLING
- Includes the following activities: lingering, remaining idle in essentially one location, spending time idly, delaying, sauntering and moving slowly about, or doing any of the foregoing acts in concert with others in a public place.
- PRIVATE PLACE
- Includes all places not commonly known as public.
- PUBLIC PLACE
- Includes but is not limited to all places commonly known as being public, such as public streets, sidewalks, parks, playgrounds and buildings. The term shall also include areas adjacent to private business establishments as well as parking lots or other vacant private property not under the control of the person charged with violating this chapter.
Without limitation, the following activities and circumstances may be considered in determining whether this chapter has been violated:
The flight of a person upon the appearance of a law enforcement officer.
Attempted concealment by a person upon the appearance of a law enforcement officer.
The systematic checking of the means of access to a private or public building at a time or in a place which would indicate an unlawful entry was about to be attempted.
Unless flight by the actor or other circumstances make it impracticable, a law enforcement officer shall, prior to any arrest for an offense under this chapter, afford the actor an opportunity to dispel any alarm which would otherwise be warranted by requesting that he identify himself and explain his presence and conduct. No person shall be convicted hereunder unless the law enforcement officer shall have complied with the preceding sentence.
If any portion of this chapter is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed stricken and shall not affect the validity of the remainder hereof.
This chapter shall take effect upon due passage and publication according to law.