Party over? Dayton passes new ‘nuisance’ gatherings law

Law helps police break up out-of-control gatherings, criminally cite violators; University of Dayton and Airbnb parties, street hooning could be affected

Dayton has passed a “nuisance parties” law that officials hope will help police break up large parties and gatherings that cause major disturbances and put people’s safety at risk.

“This is something to add an additional tool for our officers to address parties that may get out of control,” said Dayton police Lt. Col. Eric Henderson, who is the assistant chief of police. “We’ve had some issues over the years throughout our neighborhoods that this will assist in addressing.”

The Dayton City Commission on Wednesday night approved an ordinance that gives police the ability to criminally cite property owners, residents and other people who are responsible for allowing nuisance parties on their properties.

The new legislation defines nuisance parties as social gatherings or events that result in unlawful liquor sales and consumption, illegal drug use, disorderly conduct, public indecency, property damage, littering, traffic law violations, noise disturbances and other conduct and conditions that can cause injury, damage or inconvenience.

Dayton’s new law gives Dayton’s police chief or his or her designee the authority to order that nuisance parties cease. Anyone who does not live at the property must leave immediately.

Individuals or groups deemed responsible for permitting a nuisance party to take place can face a minor misdemeanor criminal charge for a first offense, but subsequent offenses in a 12-month time frame can lead to third- or fourth-degree misdemeanor criminal charges.

Individuals who do not leave a nuisance party site at police direction can be charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor violation.



The city commission passed the new law by emergency measure, which means it takes effect immediately and will be in place for St. Patrick’s Day on March 17 and the NCAA basketball tournament that kicks off with the First Four in Dayton on March 19.

Police on multiple occasions in past years have broken up rowdy parties in the student residential areas around the University of Dayton campus, usually around St. Paddy’s Day and during March Madness tournament events.

UD officials told the Dayton Daily News earlier this month that they support new measures that could improve the safety of students, the campus and local first-responders.

Lt. Col. Henderson said Dayton already had some laws on the books that helped police break up parties, but this new ordinance is comprehensive.

“This really ties it together,” he said.

Henderson said police want people to stop parties voluntarily when they get out of control. But he said police need enforcement tools when people aren’t willing to cooperate and do the right thing.

“We’re going to talk about this, advertise it, make sure people are aware of it,” he said. “We want voluntary compliance — we don’t want to be heavy-handed.”

Wild parties and gatherings have taken place at after-hours liquor establishments, bootleg joints and short-term rental units, like Airbnbs, Henderson said.

The new law would have come in handy when police responded to an unlicensed fireworks show that occurred near Gettysburg and Hoover avenues in West Dayton last year on the Fourth of July, he said.

People took part in “hooning” and reckless driving stunts, and police shut the roadway down because of pedestrian and traffic safety concerns. Many people gathered in the street and on public and private property nearby.

Police will now have the authority to shut down out-of-control gatherings on private property, Henderson said.

In September, Dayton police were called to an Airbnb rental on Oak Street in the South Park neighborhood. Police said they received complaints about noise and a party at the property.

Police said there were many people inside the home who refused to come to the door, according to a police report, but two males who spoke to officers through the door said they would have everyone leave.

The officers noted that the residence was supposed to be rented out to two adults and two children.

The officers left because there was no other legal action they could take, the report says.

A few hours later, police were called to the house after receiving reports of a shooting.

When officers arrived, the home was empty, but they found five or six gunshot holes in the front of the property, the report states. Bullets penetrated the wall and ended up in a common area in the home.

Police said the home was full of trash and empty liquor bottles and plastic cups.

Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims Jr. said this law is not meant to stop community members from having a good time. But he said he hopes it helps ensure that social events and get-togethers don’t get out of control.

“We’re OK with people having fun,” the mayor said. “We just want individuals to be a situation where they don’t (hurt) themselves or others.”

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