California Town May Restrict Drug-Infested Area

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The City Council in Lancaster, Ca., near Los Angeles, will vote tonight on an anticrime program that could make a drug-plagued neighborhood off limits to certain parolees and probationers, the Los Angeles Times reports.

As proposed, the Lancaster Community Prosecution Project raised concerns among civil libertarians because it could have applied to all parolees and probationers. But a revised plan will focus only on people who have orders to stay away from drug-plagued areas as a condition of parole or probation, said David Berger of the Los Angeles County District Attorneys’s Office.

Signs in a target neighborhood would advise parolees and probationers that the area is considered one where drug activity takes place. That satisfied the American Civil Liberties Union.

If the idea proves successful, it could spread to other parts of town. Lancaster officials hope it will help clean up some of their toughest neighborhoods, the Times says. The first target area had 203 reported crimes during 2002, including 113 drug crimes. Lancaster Vice Mayor Henry Hearns, who said he would likely vote for the program, acknowledged that property owners might worry about the stigma associated with high-crime zone designation.


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