By Justin Schmidt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
The Kansas City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that will crack down on disruptive parties at homes or "nuisance businesses."
The ordinance is intended to provide police with the means "to deal with unregulated and unlicensed private clubs and parties."
Proponents say it would provide a comprehensive means for attacking these unregulated clubs and parties that create loud music and traffic congestion while bringing in illegal drug and alcohol sales and crime.
A nuisance party would involve a gathering of 10 or more people under the ordinance. It also outlines the steps in which police can deem the gathering a law enforcement issue. These include repeat noise violations, illegal alcohol sales and crime problems.
"Unregulated private clubs and private parties have become a neighborhood nuisance and a source of many citizen complaints, emergency, police and fire calls, and a cover for many forms of criminal activity, such as prostitution, illegal drug and alcohol sales, fights, shootings and other weapons-related offenses," according to the proposal.
These activities spill into the surrounding streets and neighborhoods.
City leaders said "piece-meal enforcement" using current city laws have been largely ineffective and officers had to take the extra time to get a judge to sign a warrant.
Operating a nuisance business or party or failing to leave one when ordered to do so by police can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in municipal jail.
"If we go into a party house and there's 50 people in there and it's a problem, before we couldn't make them leave," said Kansas City Police Sgt. Brad Dumit. "Now if there's just someone at the party and we tell them to leave and they don't then we can arrest them."
Too often those throwing the parties charge for booze, creating an unlicensed bar in a neighborhood. Many throng to parties attracting hundreds once the bars shut their doors for the night. And the person who throws the party is often a renter.
"They really interfere with the neighborhood and the quality of life in the neighborhood," Dumit said. "They pop up all over the place, all the time. They have all sorts of problems. Rapes. Assaults but like it says they are a nuisance to people who live near them."
Residents of the Palestine neighborhood say the ordinance is long overdue, saying their situation has been untenable. Oversized disruptive parties inside residents are too common of a problem, residents said.
"It feels like we are fighting a losing battle. Every time we get one problem settled, here comes another," said Barbara Johnson. "One time I couldn't even get out of my driveway because of many cars at 4 in the morning."
While a citywide issue, these nuisance parties are more prevalent on the east side and north east side of Kansas City. Your typical residential holiday party isn't a problem because police say this is repeatedly happening at residents where the occupants are making money illegally by selling booze, food or admission tickets. Police said bar owners support the measure because this is competition to those who pay their taxes, have proper licenses and abide by laws.
Copyright2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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