Roanoke city leaders look to update curfew for children

Parents are responding with mixed feelings

ROANOKE, Va. – In an effort to curb gun violence in the Star City, Roanoke’s Mayor has an idea for a new approach.

Since the start of the new year, Mayor Sherman Lea has been pushing for a new, updated curfew for young people.

“We’ve had young people get shot in drive-by shootings and it’s continuing to occur,” said Mayor Lea after Tuesday night’s public hearing on the curfew.

A curfew is not new to Roanoke. One has been in place since 2004, according to City Attorney Tim Spencer.

Spencer tells 10 News it’s the city’s police department that is in charge of enforcing the current curfew, and any potential changes.

The current curfew states that children 16 years or younger are not allowed out in public past 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends.

Mayor Lea says he is looking at ways to update the curfew to make it more effective.

“Right now we want to develop, we want to look at the age groups that we should consider. We want to look at the hours,” he said.

Not everyone is on board, though. Gun Violence Prevention Commissioner Nicole Ross disagrees with a stricter enforcement of a curfew.

She says it would disproportionately affect one group in particular.

“I would hate to have this as another reason why our young African American boys, because those are the kinds of people you will find out, have a reason to be stopped. Because I believe that will add to the problem, I don’t think it will help it at all,” said Ross.

Many parents who filled out a 10 News survey on our website said they do not feel confident that enforcement of a curfew would be effective.

Some other areas in our region who also have adopted curfews are Botetourt County, Christiansburg and Danville.

There is another public hearing scheduled for the community to voice their thoughts about a proposed curfew.

It will take place at Patrick Henry High School on March 30.

About the Author:

Sydney joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2021.