Criminalization in the Public Space

The difference between public and private space is easy to classify, public space being a space open to those publicly, and private space being private property/areas designated solely for certain groups. Issues with public space have to deal with how those in the public space are limited to using it and how it is controlled. Public space is policed constantly, and this policing leads to criminalization of the public. Parks are supposed to be a place of relaxation, yet sitting in an area designated for sitting can still get you fined by the police, ” sitting down in a public park can cost you, bigtime. $628, to be exact”, as can be seen in the blog post, Policing public space. This move to essentially fine and harm the public over non-issues shows that the city is wrongful in their policing of the public, and that spaces made for the public must be avoided in order to avoid wrongful fining, and more. What the police and cities have done to try and limit the public’s use of public spaces is by creating bans. There are bans and “Prohibitions on loitering, loafing and ‘vagrancy'”, as told in the article, Lifting bans on sleeping outside won’t stop criminalization of homelessness. People can’t even walk around buildings without fines given out for ‘offenses’ such as loitering. The issue with this limitation on public space is that it affects the homeless the most. The issue is that homeless people who try to sleep in a public space/stay in a public space for safety purposes are targeted by the police, and this essentially criminalizes them. Homeless people can not be banned, so they are policed and targeted in other ways. The main issue that needs to be addressed is the issue of Public Space. Public space should be available to all, and those who use public space in a respectful manner should not be subject to fines, policing, or criminalizing acts.


McCoy, Terrence. “Lifting Bans on Sleeping outside Won’t Stop Criminalization of Homelessness.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 13 Aug. 2015. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

“Policing Public Space.” Policing Public Space. Dawg’s Blawg, 25 Apr. 2008. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

Assignment 4-8, Public Space, ,


  1. I agree that public space should be for everyone. While reading through your post I kept thinking about homeless people and how they effect what public space means. I don’t blame homeless people because they literally have nowhere to go unless it’s a shelter which most of the times are filled up. I do see why there are bans or curfews in certain public spaces in order to avoid these issues. There for the safety of the community because who knows what happens in these areas at night or when no one is looking.

  2. I find it very ironic that the law enforcement is almost perpetrating homelessness by creating these ‘no homeless zones’. Where the homeless have already been downtrodden by the economic system to the point of losing their house, apt etc, they are now being banned from parks, sleeping in their cars, and even staying at a friends private property. In this way it becomes clear that ‘public space’ is an illusion both created and destroyed by the government. Laws against sleeping, begging, and loitering in public come in direct opposition to the 8th amendment as we are all supposed to have the right to life, liberty, and property.

  3. I feel like being fined for things such as trespassing in a public area is pretty ridiculous. Public space is meant for the public and shouldn’t be enforced to keep Homeless people out. Police should be protecting and ensuring the community is in good shape, not to write citation to meet their quota. Trespassing after hours for Homeless people and to have limited the ability to stay at a place to rest over night is violating human rights. Sleeping in parks may discomfort the public but it can be justified, since they don’t have the capability to be at a Homeless shelter.

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