Who is a Nuisance? Criminal Activity Nuisance Ordinances in Ohio

25 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2017

See all articles by Joseph Mead

Joseph Mead

Cleveland State University

Megan Hatch

Cleveland State University

J. Rosie Tighe

Cleveland State University

Marissa Pappas

Cleveland State University

Kristi Andrasik

Cleveland State University

Elizabeth Bonham

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) - Ohio

Date Written: November 8, 2017

Abstract

Criminal Activity Nuisance Ordinances (CANOs) are local laws found in thousands of cities throughout the country which penalize property owners if repeated incidents of criminal activity related to their property occur over a set period of time (typically, 12 months). Nearly 50 cities in Ohio have CANOs, including more than 20 in Northeast Ohio.

Drawing on extensive public records from a sample of Northeast Ohio cities, this report offers a snapshot of CANOs and how they are being used. • CANOs disproportionately impact renters, people using housing vouchers, and people of color. • Race and class stereotypes surface in public discussions of CANOs, and are sometimes invoked to justify the establishment or enhancement of CANOs • CANOs are frequently applied beyond their scope to target minor, non-criminal behavior • Many cities across Ohio put survivors of domestic violence at heightened risk of eviction by defining domestic violence as a “nuisance activity”; in some cities, more than half of CANO letters are sent in response to domestic violence incidents • If emergency services are sent to a home in response to a call made to a suicide hotline, that property can be deemed a nuisance • Seeking medical assistance for someone experiencing a drug overdose crisis is a common reason that properties are placed on a nuisance list • It is often difficult or even impossible for a property owner or tenant to challenge a mistaken nuisance designation

While the findings presented in this report center on Northeast Ohio, residents in the thousands of other cities with CANOs across the country may be experiencing similar impact. We encourage policymakers, researchers, and community stakeholders to use this report to inform deeper conversations on the implications of CANOs, and to expand research on the use and consequences of these laws.

Suggested Citation

Mead, Joseph and Hatch, Megan and Tighe, J. Rosie and Pappas, Marissa and Andrasik, Kristi and Bonham, Elizabeth, Who is a Nuisance? Criminal Activity Nuisance Ordinances in Ohio (November 8, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3067028 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3067028

Joseph Mead (Contact Author)

Cleveland State University ( email )

Cleveland, OH 44115
United States

Megan Hatch

Cleveland State University ( email )

Cleveland, OH 44115
United States

J. Rosie Tighe

Cleveland State University ( email )

1717 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115
United States

Marissa Pappas

Cleveland State University ( email )

Cleveland, OH 44115
United States

Kristi Andrasik

Cleveland State University ( email )

Cleveland, OH 44115
United States

Elizabeth Bonham

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) - Ohio ( email )

4506 Chester Ave
Cleveland, OH 44103
United States

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