Valdosta PD enforces curfew for minors
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Valdosta Police Department (VPD) is warning parents and their kids that they plan to enforce a curfew for minors to help cut down on teen violence.
For two weeks straight, children, violence, and guns were all topics of conversation around Valdosta. Now, the Police Department is reinforcing an Official Code of Georgia in hopes of addressing these problems.
The agency took to Facebook and referred to Code 15-11-2.
It states that Under Georgia law a child under the age of 17, will be charged as an ‘unruly child’ when they are in need of supervision, treatment or rehabilitation, and wanders or loiters about the streets, highway, or any public place, between the hours of midnight and 5:00 a.m.
The penalty for breaking curfew isn’t steep the first time but repeat offenders will be subject to fines of over $1000, community service and possible jail time.
Some Valdosta residents said the curfew is one step towards alleviating teen crime in the community but parents also have to help out.
“I think the city is probably trying to be proactive and put some things in motion for the people to kind of say ‘okay, we have the support of the city’. But I think it needs to be more needs to be done on everyone’s end. Parents as well,” said Justin Williams, a Valdosta resident, said.
Some parents said they could use a little help after a late-night football game, or movie with friends.
Other parents said they don’t really feel the curfew is the correct response.
“I don’t want the curfew to be something that targets children. I feel like sometimes when we make laws, they target the person that needs the help. And when you look at the violence, I mean it’s happening at 7 o’clock in the morning at a bus stop, so, I don’t really understand the curfew,” Angela Greer, Valdosta Community Center Director, said.
Community Volunteers want kids to think about the decisions they make Whether it’s daytime or nighttime, your actions will have a consequence behind them.
“You can’t think about your actions in just that moment. You have to think about what’s going to happen after that. You know you’re probably going to get thrown behind bars, for a long time. You’re going to get caught. So yeah, think about that. Think about waking up in a cell, it’s not fun at all,” Williams, said. “You have a choice. And the choices you make are going to shape your life. How you’re going to live, whether it’s behind bars or you are going to live a free life and life is not meant to be suffered. It’s meant to be enjoyed.”
Some people think a curfew won’t solve the problem. They feel officers should be walking the streets to keep children safe instead.
“If you want to make a change, you have to be the change that you want to see. We just can’t keep enacting laws after laws that are targeting areas that need help. I think that they need to spend more time in the community. Like where’s the community policing programs,” Greer, said.
Williams said the penalty for breaking curfew can negatively impact families as well.
“I think it’s going to tarnish families because you’re going to punish those parents basically through citations or tickets, Which is ultimately money. And they have a lack of resources on that end already,” he said.
City leaders have hosted meetings to encourage adults to become more involved with teens and young adults too.
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