Smithfield enacts teen curfew
Posted August 4, 2010 2:38 p.m. EDT
Updated August 4, 2010 11:15 p.m. EDT
Smithfield, N.C. — The Smithfield Town Council on Tuesday approved a curfew for teens, which went into effect immediately.
Under the curfew, police can stop anyone under age 18 who is out between 11:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. Those who don't have a note from their parents approving their late-night activities will be sent home, officials said.
"I don't think anyone thinks it's a good idea to have teenagers and younger, hanging out on the street corners late at night, running up and down the streets late at night without a legitimate purpose to be out,” said Smithfield Police Department Capt. Bruce Gentry.
But some teens disagree and think the curfew is unfair.
"Most nights I don't go straight home after work. I go hangout with my friends. It’s not like I’m doing anything wrong. I shouldn't be punished for hanging out with friends after 11:30 (p.m.),” teenager Tori Johnson said.
Smithfield officials insist the curfew is designed to protect teens from crime.
"This is a protective ordinance, not a punitive ordinance,” Mayor Daniel Evans said.
Evans said the curfew will also help in deterring crime.
"What you can do is maybe direct some young person, or divert a young person, from committing a crime, or getting involved in a situation that they will regret for the rest of their lives,” he said.
However, teenager Kayla Waldrup said despite the curfew's intentions, some teens are not going to see it as a positive move.
“You’re going to have people who are going to be like, I’m not going to follow the law, and I’m going to go do what I want," she said.
Repeat curfew offenders will be charged with a misdemeanor, and their parents could also face charges, officials said.