ROANOKE, Va. – Zero. That’s the number of citations interim Chief Jerry Stokes says Roanoke City Police issued for the expanded youth curfew.
“We did not write any citations during that period to any juveniles,” Stokes said.
The expanded curfew enacted by the city council was in effect from July 1 to August 31.
During that time, there were two different gun violence incidents involving juveniles during curfew hours.
These two crimes left one dead and two hurt.
Police say with the limited data, they found the expanded curfew had no positive or negative effect on juvenile crime rates over the summer.
“We just didn’t run across kids where the situation matched the curfew. A lot of police action needs to be reasonable and based on facts,” Stokes said.
Stokes said one problem is they can’t stop people violating curfew without reasonable cause, and can often not tell how old they are.
“You know a 13-year-old, 12-year-old, you can certainly tell that they are 12 or 13. It is articulable. When you get up to 15, 16-year-olds, it is difficult to say, ‘You’re 16 and you’re 17.’ Because at the point of being 17, then the curfew doesn’t apply,” he said.
Stokes brought up Lloyd Merchant, the coordinator for the city’s R.E.S.E.T. team, to speak about the effectiveness of their youth summer programs.
Merchant says the mentor team extended support to eight kids, while the Box-Fit program provided support to another eight.
He says those numbers only represent the kids referred to the R.E.S.E.T. team, but Mayor Sherman Lea says to keep pushing,
“In light of what we see happening now, it’s critical to get as many kids involved as we can,” Lea said.
Other youth programs this summer included the summer library program, which offered 964 programs, with over 10,000 attendees.
City council will need to vote to expand the expanded curfew if they want it to continue.