Some cities impose loitering laws that can criminalize otherwise lawful behavior giving authorities the power to stop, detain, cite or arrest individuals for their mere presence at a particular location. The severity of loitering laws and the way in which they infringe on individual liberty ranges from city to city depending on the particular policy and the degree to which it is enforced. For this metric we used the following five-point scale that categorizes the range of severity for loitering laws, with one being the least deferential to individual liberty and five being the most deferential to individual liberty:
- Prohibits loitering in general or on public property (public parks are a common example)
- Prohibits loitering on certain controlled properties (public school grounds are a common example)
- Loitering is tailored to time-based restrictions similar to a curfew
- Loitering laws are tailored to alcohol establishments or related to other criminal or nuisance activity only
- No specific loitering restrictions in code or the restrictions are related to trespass on private property only
The city score was then normalized using a statistical z-score which counted for 10% of the overall score in the Individual Liberty category.
To see a specific city's laws for this metric, click on its name in the right column, then find the = Loitering ?> row in the table below the Individual Liberty category.