[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Lewistown 9-22-1972 by Ord. No. 1972-40; amended in its entirety 3-24-1986 by Ord. No. 86-2 (Ch. 6, Part 4, of the 1986 Code). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Peace and good order — See Ch. 170.
In order to protect the safety of the public and the security of property in the Borough, it shall be unlawful for any person to loiter, either alone or with others, on any sidewalk, street, alley, mall, parking lot, playground, park, recreation area, or other like outdoor facility in the Borough, or in or about any building or structure in the Borough (irrespective of whether the building or structure is occupied or vacant or irrespective of the use which is made of the building or structure), so as to warrant concern by a police officer for the safety of persons or the security of property in the vicinity; and to fail or refuse to move on or disperse when requested to do so by the police officer; and then to fail or refuse to explain his presence or conduct when requested to do so by the police officer or, if he gives an explanation of his presence or conduct to the police officer and the explanation is such as would not at the time be reasonably sufficient to dispel the concern of the police officer, to fail or refuse to move on or disperse if again requested to do so by the police officer.
Definition. For the purposes of this chapter, the following term shall have the meaning given:
- Includes any of the following types of conduct: loafing; lingering; hanging around; idly spending time; prowling; wandering; standing or remaining idle or sauntering or moving slowly about in a case where such movement is not due to physical condition or physical defects. The term "loiter" means and includes conduct which is on foot or conduct which is by way of a parked or moving vehicle.
Interpretation. Among the circumstances which are to be considered under this chapter in determining whether a police officer was warranted in being concerned for the safety of persons or the security of property are:
The time of day when, or the place where, the loitering occurs.
The systematic checking by the actor of doors, windows, fire escapes, gates or other means of entry to a building, structure, vehicle or property.
Recurrent activity or aberrant behavior by the actor which outwardly manifests no useful purpose or reasonably explicable purpose and is not usual for a law-abiding or peace-abiding person.
The continuous or repeated presence of the actor 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 then existing.
The actor's attempt to conceal himself or any object.
No person shall be convicted of the offense of loitering under this chapter if it appears at trial that the actor's explanation of his presence and conduct is in fact true and, if the explanation had been made to the police officer at the time and if it had been believed by the police at the time, it would have or should have dispelled the police officer's concern for the safety of persons or the security of property.
It is not intended that this chapter be used by a particular complainant as a catchall against persons whose ideas, dress, lifestyle or physical appearance is annoying to the sensibility of the complainant. Nor is it intended that this chapter be used as a form of preventive detention or as an excuse for search and seizure. It is the intent of this chapter, however, to recognize that there are conditions and circumstances which warrant a police officer making a judgment in the field or on the spot that the time has arrived when (after giving due consideration to the delicate balance of the right of free assembly, free association, free speech or free movement) some action is called for by the police officer in order to ensure that the safety of the public or the security of property will be protected by taking some common sense, but not unreasonably oppressive, measures.
A person convicted of the offense of loitering shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $100 and the costs of prosecution and, upon failure to pay such fines and costs, to imprisonment for not more than 10 days.