Local News

Durham Officials: Teen Curfew Not The Answer

Posted August 13, 2005

— On Friday, the Durham Crime Cabinet bounced around the idea of a teen curfew. But after looking at the latest crime statistics on teen-agers, most of the panel members agreed that a curfew was not the answer.

"Based on the stats we saw today, there is a problem. But it's how we address the problem that's the issue,"

Howard Clement

, a member of the Durham City Council, said.

Both city and county law-enforcement officials said most of the crimes that involved teens were not happening late at night.

"The majority of crime is occurring after school and early in the evening before the hours a curfew would take effect," said Lt. John Mozart, who also told the committee that there was no real trend reflected in the most recent juvenile crime numbers.

"It's up and down," he said.

It's been a violent year for young people in Durham.

In January, a 13-year-old girl was

shot

at MK's House of Jazz and R&B. It was the second shooting there in as many weeks.

Last Friday night, six teens -- four females and two males -- were shot during a

swim party

at MetroSport Athletic Club.

If forcing teens to be home at a certain hour was not the answer, Clement said, keeping them productive may be the way to go.

"To me, one of the answers is more after-school programs," Clement said.

In the meantime, County Commissioner

Ellen Reckhow

said the real responsibility falls on parents.

"All parents should be saying, 'It's ten o'clock. Where's my child? It's eleven o'clock. Where's my child?'" Reckhow said. "That message has to be driven home."

Other towns in the area think curfews may be the way to go.

In Knightdale, people younger than 18 must be home before 9 p.m. or supervised by their parents. The rules also prohibit teens from gathering in groups of four or more at any time.

The Town of Benson also recently voted to extend a curfew for another two years. In Benson, people under 16 years old cannot be on the street after 11 p.m.

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