Local News

Small Town Follows Knightdale's Lead With Teen Curfew

Posted July 15, 2005

— The summer heat does not bring many teenagers out during the day in the small Northampton County town of Gaston, but at night, the under-18 crowd becomes active -- sometimes too active -- by getting involved in vandalism and break-ins.

"They will walk the streets all hours of the night," says Gaston Town Commissioner Louise Bailey.

Now, some in this community want a curfew that will get teens off the street by 11 p.m.

Bailey believes the move will protect both the children and property owners.

"Let's face it -- drugs, everything is out there, terrorism, the whole nine yards. They are being influenced, even in a small town," says retired police officer Stephen Ward.

Gaston teens are also sounding off on the proposed curfew.

"I see where the town is coming from and saying you should be off the streets," says 15-year-old Christina Coker. "But also 18-year-olds are mature enough to know how to stay in and stay out of trouble."

The curfew is patterned after the one adopted by the Wake County town of Knightdale, which recently imposed a 9 p.m. curfew. Other small towns are considering similar curfews.

The town of Scotland Neck has received public comment on a proposed curfew. The Town Council is set to enact it next week, but the decision could be delayed as many town leaders prefer to take a wait-and-see attitude because of concerns over possible legal challenges to curfews in other towns.

The curfews do make allowances for extreme circumstances.


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