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Council vote targets loitering

January 04, 2000

Hoping to disperse crowds that gather around some downtown bars, the Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday voted 5-0 to prohibit loitering within 50 feet of businesses that sell alcoholic beverages.

This amendment to the city's loitering law will go into effect Feb. 5.

The new provision to the loitering law was proposed by City Police Chief Arthur R. Smith, who has said that one of his first impressions of Hagerstown was that too many people were loitering around some downtown bars.

Smith said that because of the number of bars and restaurants with liquor licenses in downtown, much of the downtown area would be covered by the change to the loitering law.

Smith, who worked for the Baltimore City Police Department before becoming Hagerstown's police chief Nov. 1, said Baltimore has an "almost identical" prohibition on loitering around bars.

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- Dan Kulin

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