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March 28, 2013

City Council backs keeping curfew

GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council has shown it intends to maintain the city’s juvenile curfew.

Following a public hearing during Tuesday’s regular session, the Council took a unanimous record vote in favor of renewing the curfew ordinance for three more years. A second public hearing and a final vote on the curfew are scheduled during the April 9 Council  meeting.

Assistant Police Scott Smith said the curfew is one tool used by the police department to address issues regarding juveniles.

“We’ve had a variety of problems with juveniles,” Smith said. “This curfew has actually really helped.”

Since 1995, juveniles in Greenville have been prohibited from being on local streets between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, between midnight and 6 a.m. weekends and between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. school days. The ordinance does not apply directly to students who are home-schooled.

The Council voted unanimously to renew the curfew in 2010.

Smith said the officers can take action under the curfew rules against more than just the juveniles themselves.

“You can be a parent who continually allows your children to be out during those hours,” Smith said. “It is worthwhile. It has served our city well, and our youth.”

Since 2010, the City of Greenville had reported 785 juvenile offenses, detained 264 juveniles and had reported 520 juvenile victims, with a total of 61 violations of the curfew.

County Court-at-Law No. 1 Judge Andrew Bench also serves as the county’s juvenile judge and is a member of the county’s juvenile board. Bench said the curfew is an effective deterrent.

“If they are out past curfew, they get picked up,” Bench said. “The number of juvenile crime victims has also decreased, I think, due to the curfew.”

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