Enforce curfew law to fight gangs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Enforce curfew law to fight gangs

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March 17, 2008

Albany -- Albany City Commissioners want to help police fight gangs and they think a stricter curfew might be the way to do it.

Commissioners will talk with Police Tuesday about better enforcement of the existing curfew to keep kids off streets at night, and at school time, and out of trouble.

Ward One City Commissioner Jon Howard shows us a well worn cut through leading to an empty house on Almond Drive, where kids hang out during school hours. Howard said "of course you can always find the beer bottles. That's the number one commodity." On the back of the house, lots of graffiti marking this as blood territory. Neighbors say it's frightening.

One Neighbor said "back and forth all day." Howard said "let me ask you a question. Do you think quite a bit of it could be gang related?" Howard said this is one of the spots students are using when they cut school, and he says he believes that leads to crime.

 Now he wants tougher enforcement of curfew laws to stop truancy.  Howard said "the law is on the book. We need enforcement, enforcement, enforcement from the Police Department."

Saturday night Police shut down Brick House Productions for liquor sales, saying it was a gang member haven. Gang task force leaders say they can use tough curfew laws to break up gangs.  Dougherty Chief Assistant D.A. Greg Edwards said "in most instances when you have gang activity, you have persons just idling about, with nothing to do."

At Tuesday's city commission meeting Howard said Commissioners will talk with law enforcement about getting tough on curfew breakers.  Howard said "you got to put some teeth in it, and to let individuals in the city know that we are concerned about the large number of teenagers during school hours walking the streets, in which they should be in school."

 And use curfew laws to continue the fight against Albany gangs.

Albany's curfew law says that children under age 18 have to be in school from 8:30 until 2:30 on school days. They have to be off the streets from 11 P-M until 6 A-M Sunday through Thursday. Friday and Saturday the curfew is from midnight to 6 A-M.

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