Local News

Rocky Mount Police push for teen curfew

Posted September 18, 2008 1:53 p.m. EDT
Updated September 18, 2008 6:37 p.m. EDT

— With violent crime on the rise, authorities in Rocky Mount are pushing for a curfew for teens.

The curfew would make it illegal for anyone 16-years-old or younger to be on the streets from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weeknights. On weekends the curfew would be midnight to 6 a.m.

Rocky Mount Police Chief John Manley said after 11 p.m. crimes tend to get “more violent and persons become more susceptible to be the victim of a crime.”

So far this year the city has seen 11 murders, three deaths shy last year’s total.

To help curb the surge in violent crime police have added officers to its Street Engagement Team. Several roundups have produced numerous arrests, and pulled more than 300 guns off the street this year.

Despite those efforts Manley said crime continues to increase.

“We do tend to see a lot of violent crime among youths,” Manley said.

If the curfew is passed by the city council, officers would bring teens home and, in cases of repeat offenders, have the right to bill parents for their time. The curfew would also make exceptions for teens working or participating in certain activities.

The council plans a public hearing on the curfew on Sept. 29.

After researching similar plans in other states, Manley believes a curfew would be an effective tool but not the sole solution.

“It’s going to take a community wide effort,” Manley said.

The local United Way is using grant money to fund a new gang prevention program.

“It will have prevention, education and suppression built into it,” said Ginny Mohrbutter, county coordinator of the Rocky Mount Area United Way Volunteer Center.