Vagrancy is defined as the act of wandering from place to place seeking assistance through begging or panhandling.  Persons who engage in such conduct are called “vagrants”, and some jurisdictions maintain anti-vagrancy laws.

Many vagrancy violations may also involve the vagrant person trespassing on private property.  A typical vagrancy violation involves the person sleeping or staying in prohibited public places, such as on a sidewalk or bench. 

Vagrancy can especially be a problem for businesses, as the presence of vagrants can deter customers from visiting the business.  Vagrancy charges are similar to loitering, except that loitering may or may not involve requests for money.  While “being poor is not a crime”, vagrancy is often connected with other types of violations and criminal activity

What is Some Advice for Preventing Vagrancy Crimes on Private Property?

Home and business owners can take several steps towards preventing vagrancy crimes on their own private property.  First, you should understand that some property locations may be more susceptible to vagrancy than others.  For example, businesses that are located on a busy intersection corner or near a back alley may experience more incidents of vagrancy than others.

Here are some tips for preventing vagrancy crimes on private property:

  • Report instances to the police:  The presence of police on or near your property can deter vagrants from returning to your property.  Also, the police may include more patrols in your area
  • File a complaint with the city:  This may allow you to obtain an injunction or a city ordinance regarding vagrancy, especially if your neighborhood hasn’t addressed the issue yet in its laws
  • Hire a security guard:  This can also deter persons from loitering on your property, and can increase the level of safety for visitors and patrons
  • Install security cameras:  These should be visible and preferably placed on the outside of your building
  • Understand the overlap between public and private property:  For example, your property may be near public areas such as a sidewalk, park or parking lot.  Be sure you understand your property rights with regards to boundaries.
  • Post signs and warnings:  These can often be enough to yield results, and can often lessen your own liability for injuries and violations occurring on your property due to vagrancy

Thus, you may have various options when it comes to preventing vagrancy crimes on private property.  This is important for yourself and your community, since vagrancy can lead to other issues such as theft, vandalism, or violent crime.

What are the Legal Consequences for Vagrancy?

Vagrancy can range from a traffic violation to a misdemeanor charge.  In most cases, vagrancy may result in criminal fines and/or a short jail sentence.  However, repeat charges for vagrancy can lead to increased penalties and legal consequences.  That’s why it’s important to report any instances of vagrancy on your property to authorities, in order to prevent repeated occurrences of the violation.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help Preventing Vagrancy Crimes on Private Property?

Before you take any steps regarding vagrancy on your property, you may wish to hire an experienced criminal lawyer for advice.  Your lawyer can explain your options to you, so that you don’t violate any laws with your actions.  Also, if you have any questions or concerns regarding the vagrancy laws in your area, a lawyer can provide you with legal guidance and representation in court.