Saturday, July 7, 2012

'No Sit/No Lie' Ordinance Expansion Possible

The "No Sit/No Lie" ordinance that has been in place since 1992 downtown to deal with the city's homeless population is seen by some as a good solution to curbing drug activity in East Austin near 12th and Chicon.  The Statesman.com reports that the ordinance may not cure the problem and may penalize innocent people.

Neighbors in the area think the city should expand the measure, which was passed twenty years ago to keep homeless people from loitering near businesses.  However, the policy has exceptions for medical conditions and the police have to give a warning and wait thirty minutes before arresting a person suspected of violating the ordinance.  People often avoid arrest by just moving further down the street.

East Austin residents support the ordinance because it would give police a legal way to disperse the crowds that congregate near the corner and give them a way to stop people from drinking and taking drugs outside.  However, authorities say police would still have a difficult time stopping dealers and buyers, who don't remain in the area for long.

Advocates for the homeless see the "No Sit/No Lie" ordinance as abusive to the city's most defenseless populations.  They think more programs providing houses and resources for the homeless is a better solution to the loitering problem.

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