A Los Angeles City Council member has proposed an ordinance that would ban adults from city playgrounds unless they are accompanied by a child.
Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said he proposed the ban after receiving complaints from parents about drug activity in the park and said that it would help to keep city parks “free of creepy activity.”
If passed, the ordinance would require adults in playground areas to be accompanied by children. Unaccompanied adults would still be permitted to use all park areas outside of established playground boundaries.
Tony Arranaga, a spokesman for O’Farrell, told Beverly Press that the precise boundaries around playgrounds would have to be determined. Existing sand, shrubs, gates or fences, as well as signs, could serve as barriers to warn adults without children to keep out.
Beverly Press noted that some other cities have enacted similar ordinances:
For example, in New York City, which has already adopted a similar ordinance, seven men playing chess inside a public playground area were ticketed in 2010 because they were not accompanied by children, according to New York media.
Miami Beach, Fla., has also adopted a similar law, according to the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), a nonprofit that promotes public parks, recreation and conservation. So did the city of Hollywood, Fla., which penalizes violators with a fine up to $500 or up to 60 days in prison.
Penalties for violating the Los Angeles ordinance, if it passes, will be determined during the drafting process, which includes passage at the committee and council levels and well as public input.
“As city leaders, we owe this to families, to create safe spaces for their children at city play areas,” O’Farrell said in a statement after the Dec. 14 council meeting in which he introduced the motion. “Other municipalities have adopted similar laws to enhance child safety and provide law enforcement with clear regulations as to who may be present in a playground. Our park facilities should be a safe haven, and we must do our part to provide the proper shelter for our kids.”
Michael Paris, a single man who was walking his dog at Echo Park told KTLA, “You’re going to kick me out of the park for walking my dog close to a playground? To me, that’s just not fair.”
“Who’s going to come by and look at the adults and say, ‘Do you have children?’ and if you don’t you just can’t be here,” asked Danielle Carrig. “I just think we have to be a better neighborhood and a better community together.”
Patsy Cox said people should just work to make the community more vigilant.
Once the ordinance is officially drafted it will be sent to the Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners, followed by the Arts, Parks and Los Angeles River Committee, and then to the full city council.