Editorial: Valdosta teen curfew

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Valdosta City Council recently voted 5-2 to decline an ordinance for a controversial teen curfew.

The ordinance would have required teens to be out of the streets from midnight to 5 a.m., and hold the parents responsible for their children.

Imagine that…. parents being held responsible for their own children!

We are revisiting that vote and outcome, because we, along with Valdosta and other SW Georgia community leaders, are searching for answers to curbing crime by juveniles.

According to VPD, there was a spike in juvenile crime this past summer.  Of 158 arrests, 75% of those crimes were committed by juveniles.

The proposed ordinance was not only an effort to curb crime by juveniles, but to also protect as many children as possible.

"We either do this, in trying to figure out why they're out there and try to solve this, and I'm not talking about putting people in jail necessarily," said Police Chief Brian Childress. "Or we do nothing and let them shot or get arrest records?"

Again, the proposed ordinance was declined, and police now have no choice but to enforce state law, which is even more drastic than the ordinance.

That means police will issue arrest warrants to minors who are caught on the street between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m.

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