Grant Halverson

In a move that would almost certainly come under immediate court scrutiny if approved, the Charlotte Police Department wants to move ahead on a plan to figuratively wall off parts of the city to people who've been arrested, the Charlotte Observer's Steve Harrison reports.

Under the proposal, the police could declare an area a "public safety zone" if they perceive there has been an uptick in crime there. They could do this independent of the city's governing council.

Once the zone is declared, any person arrested inside it would be prohibited from returning. They would have five days to appeal the ban. If their appeal fails, they would be barred for up to a year.

The police's general counsel told Harrison it's still up for proposal, but police say a similar, though now-lapsed, prostitution-free zone shows the proposal could help reduce crime. However, the Observer's Harrison notes that data found crime was simply pushed out to the surrounding area.


Indeed, that is largely what Portland, Ore. found after it tried out drug- and prostitution-free zones for 15 years, according to Matthew Mangino, an attorney who's written about the Charlotte proposal.

"We must develop treatment programs that address sex abuse counseling, housing, child care needs, and job training, as well as drug counseling," Portland Mayor Tom Potter said several months after the zones were disbanded in 2007. "This is not coddling offenders; rather, it’s breaking the cycle."


Read the full story on the Charlotte proposal here ¬Ľ

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.