SILENCED: How Nuisance Ordinances Punish Crime Victims in New York

Document Date: June 12, 2015
Affiliate: New York Civil Liberties Union

Housing security and access to effective emergency and police assistance are fundamental elements of creating safe and vibrant communities. For victims of domestic violence, housing and police access can take on even more importance, as they are often integral to escaping lifethreatening violence and living free from abuse. However, municipalities across the country are increasingly enacting laws that penalize tenants and property owners based on police response or criminal activity occurring on a property. These laws – typically called nuisance ordinances, crime free ordinances, or disorderly house laws – deter crime victims from reporting crime and frequently lead to evictions or other harmful penalties for victims who do call 911 in an emergency.

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