Posted: May 3, 2011 10:24 PM by Ashley Rodrigue
Updated: May 3, 2011 10:24 PM
BATON ROUGE- Keeping teens off the streets of Baton Rouge and out of trouble could be supported by a tougher curfew.
City leaders say that would give businesses and police more power over groups of troublesome teens. But others argue the government shouldn't be parenting kids or parents.
"I think there's a false sense of security in our community that juveniles, particularly 15 and 14-year-olds, are safe at malls or movie theatres and I don't want to be the alarmist, but I don't believe that be true," said Metro Councilman Chandler Loupe.
And Loupe thinks creating a stronger curfew for kids can change that. He's proposing a change to the current city-parish curfew to include 17-year-olds. His ordinance also calls for shortening the hours allowed out-and-about for 15-year-olds and younger, on the weekends to midnight from 1 a.m.
Mayor Pro Tem Mike Walker agrees, but wants to go even further by bumping the curfew for 15-year-olds and younger, up two hours, from 11 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weeknights and 1 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends.
Walker said, "I think you've got a serious juvenile problem with crime right now and it has to be addressed and if they need to be off the streets, they need to be off the streets, if they're unsupervised."
Police don't have a problem with either proposal.
Interim Baton Rouge Police Chief Charles Mondrick said, "We know our call volume goes up on extended holidays at school and certainly during the summer time and this is just another tool in our arsenal to deal with that."
But the ACLU doesn't see it that way.
Executive Director of ACLU of Louisiana, Marjorie Esman said, "I don't see that this is going to have any significant effect on the crime rate, certainly not enough to off-set the risks of interfering with people's constitutional rights."
One family we talked to disagrees with each other on the issue.
Mother Marcie Holliday said, "It goes back to that old philosophy, it takes a village to raise kids so I think it's a good thing for the whole community to get involved, not just parents."
"It would help a lot, but I think crime, little things like that, isn't gonna stop it," said 15-year-old Kiara Holliday.
Everyone we talked with did agree enforcement of the ordinance is the key to its success. A committee of the council will discuss Loupe's proposal Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. The full council will talk it over next week.