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Attention, potential criminals: Stay out of trouble or you may soon be asked to leave the Albany downtown area and not come back for a good long time.

Albany police have asked city officials to designate a section of the city as an Enhanced Law Enforcement Area. The area includes neighborhoods north of Pacific Boulevard at Pine Street continuing to the Willamette River, west to Elm Street continuing south to 11th Avenue, east to Pacific Boulevard and down Pacific to Pine Street, along with the Albany Train Station and the Pacific Boulevard overpass.

The Albany City Council is to take up the request Wednesday. If councilors approve the code change, the area essentially immediately becomes designated as a giant "No Trespassing" zone for people who have been convicted of three or more felony or misdemeanor crimes or certain city code violations. 

Under the proposed code change, court explusion orders for "persistent violation" are to last from three months to a year. People who receive an expulsion order and come back to the area anyway before their time is up will be subject to immediate arrest.

Code Compliance Officer Kris Schendel told the council Monday the police department is asking for the change because it has found 19 percent of the crimes committed in Albany happen in the same area, a zone just under a square mile that makes up about 5 percent of the city as a whole.

Under the proposal, people may be subject to a persistent violation order if they are convicted in Albany Municipal Court or in Linn County Circuit Court for any combination of crimes or violations, in separate incidents, within a six-month period within the Enhanced Law Enforcement Zone. 

Applicable crimes are three or more Class A, B or C felonies or misdemeanors, or violations of certain portions of the city code, including prohibited camping, human waste, unnecessary noise, consumption or possession of alcohol in public places, or use of marijuana in public places.

Court orders may be altered if a person convicted of persistent violation needs to be in the prohibited area because he or she is traveling to work, school, city offices, health facilities or other areas the court agrees are necessary.

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