Understanding the law
The intent of the new program, like the old program, is to assist property owners in addressing crime occurring on their property. The new program will also provide uniform agreements and signage for property owners that will help ensure that arrests under this program lead to successful prosecution.
The following is a summary of the changes implemented for the new program
- Every business with an existing Trespass Authorization Form prior to May 25th, 2011 will be required to complete the revised Trespass Agreement and Authorization form and post the new SPD Conditions of Entry Sign before Trespass Warnings can be issued.
- Any person that is then found to be in violation of the posted conditions will be subject to receipt of a Trespass Warning in addition to any other enforcement actions that may be warranted by the violation.
- Once a person has received a Trespass Warning, they will be subject to immediate arrest if they are found again at that address in violation of the Conditions of Entry. The Trespass Warnings do not expire, unlike the 1 year time period under the admonishment program.
- Officers will no longer issue admonishments. However, a business owner may issue an admonishment for any time frame they determine. The business owner will also be responsible for maintaining records of admonishments and for witness testimony if they request that SPD take enforcement action based upon their admonishment.
- Trespass Warnings and Trespass Enforcement Authorization forms will apply only to individual addresses. Unlike under the old program, there is no longer provision for collective agreements covering multiple businesses.
- The procedure for enforcement of the Criminal Trespass law on private property remains the same.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
Step One: Fill out an agreement form
Business should contact their police precincts to obtain a trespass authorization form. This can be done either in person at the precinct or via email. You can direct all questions about this program to the following email addresses.
Step Two: Order a sign or get one printed
Businesses that want to participate in the program must have the new "Conditions of Entry" sign, which the business owner may either:
1. Print your own sign: You can download the PDF file here.
2. Purchase a preprinted sign: The Seattle Neighborhood Group has these signs already printed for outdoor use, available at www.sngi.org.
Step Three: Post your sign in a prominent location
Businesses need to post signs in a prominent outdoor location.