October 21, 2009 9:46:00 AM
The Columbus City Council Tuesday amended a city curfew ordinance to increase the penalties associated with violations, making parents responsible for their children.
A request to amend the ordinance, which was considered by a committee convened for the purpose, came after a recent spate of burglaries and robberies in downtown Columbus.
"They are tearing us up," said Columbus Police Department Chief Joseph St. John, after Columbus Mayor Robert Smith noted most burglaries in September were committed by "juveniles." "We have got to do something."
The ordinance stipulates a "minor or compulsory-school-age child" can not "hang around" or "loiter" between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., said City Attorney Jeff Turnage.
Additionally, the ordinance stipulates a minor or compulsory-school-age child cannot loiter after 11 p.m. on Sundays through Thursday and after midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Anyone found in violation of the ordinance will be taken, by the CPD, to a youth detention center and their parents will be notified.
Once the parent or guardian arrives to pick up the minor, the parent or guardian will receive notice that a second violation will bring a fine of $125 or community service for the parent or guardian.
Subsequent violations mean escalating penalties, up to as much as $500 or 50 hours of community service, for the parents or guardians.
"The only thing we''re trying to do is make parents more responsible for their kids," said Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem.
"I think it''s something we need to do," said Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Box. "But if we''re going to fine these people, then let''s collect the fines."
In another matter, the council accepted proposals from Mississippi Industrial Waste Disposal and Golden Triangle Waste Service LLC for the city''s recycling business.
Starkville Recycling declined to submit a proposal, noted David Armstrong, the city''s chief administrative officer.
Ward 1 Councilman Gene Taylor and Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin were appointed to a committee to review the proposals.
GTWS held the recycling contract with the city until the contract recently expired.
Wayne commented at 10/21/2009 2:10:00 PM:
Its about time. Now the problem will be to get the CPD to follow through. It has been my experience that they will not pick up "hang around" or "loiters". This will work if it is enforced.
Tondra Gore commented at 10/22/2009 1:41:00 PM:
I agree with you Wayne. It is about time because a lot kids took this curfew thing for a joke. Now they see that CPD is not playing this time! PARENTS YOU BETTER KEEP TRACK OF WHERE YOUR KIDS ARE AT ALL TIME BECAUSE THE CPD WILL BE GIVING YOU OR YOUR CHILD WILL BE CALLING YOU TO COME GET HIM/HER/THEM UP IF THEY ARE UNDER YEARS OF AGE.
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