Roanoke City Council holds public hearing on proposed curfew

ROANOKE, Va. – “It’s not law enforcement, it’s not the Commonwealth’s Attorney, it’s not City Council that’s going to solve this problem, it’s the community. Everybody has to get involved.”

But only a handful of people spoke at Tuesday night’s public hearing about enforcing or adjusting a city-wide curfew that’s already on the books for people 16 and younger in Roanoke.

Mayor Sherman Lea announced the idea in January in response to gun violence, which has continued to be a major topic of discussion for the city.

“We want to make sure we have something in place to help protect our young people,” Mayor Lea said.

Tuesday night’s crowd was split on the effectiveness of a curfew.

Those in favor said it’s a start to finding solutions to curb violence.

“If a 10 o’clock curfew makes sure my child gets into the house and makes sure my child is awake and living the next morning, that’s a small task to ask for a curfew,” Darnell Wood said.

Others said a curfew for kids and teens may not reach the age groups committing violent crimes and isn’t fair across the board.

“One, this curfew will make it more difficult to be young than it already is during these trying times. Two, it will waste our scarce public resources,” Dominic Harden said.

The speakers agreed - they want to see more activities for young people across the city and more community involvement to find solutions to violence.

“It’s our responsibility as a community to help the children,” Adrian Davis said.

A second public hearing on implementing a curfew in Roanoke is Thursday, March 30th at Patrick Henry High School.

Mayor Lea said he wants councilmembers to make a decision about a curfew by early May.

About the Authors

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.