Repeat criminal trespass offenders will face tougher penalties under a new ordinance passed Monday night.
Akron City Council voted to amend the criminal trespass section of the Code of Ordinances to raise the offense level from a fourth degree misdemeanor to a first degree offense, which carries more jail time.
Council’s Public Safety Committee Chair Jim Shealey (At Large) said campus safety officials from the University of Akron, frustrated over the number of repeat trespassing offenders who have committed crimes on or near campus, requested review of the law.
Shealey said the university in its written request cited offenders who had been arrested for trespassing as many as 33 times.
Under the new rules, anyone previously convicted of a fourth degree misdemeanor for trespassing will be charged with a third degree for the second offense; a second degree for the third offense and a first degree misdemeanor for the fourth and subsequent offenses.
A first degree misdemeanor carries a six month jail sentence.
“Apparently some of these offenders would get released and go right back to committing the same crimes, and the university felt a 30-day sentence was not a sufficient deterrent,” Shealey said. “Now anyone charged with a first degree criminal trespassing misdemeanor anywhere in the city could serve six months in jail.”