MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Police in Clarksdale, Mississippi are hoping to put a halt on rising juvenile crime by more actively enforcing the city’s 10-year-old curfew ordinance for people under age 18.
Clarksdale Police Chief Robbie Linley is making a push to encourage parents and guardians to observe the rules and times of the curfew which begins at 9 p.m. and ends at 5:30 a.m. the next day Sunday through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday the curfew goes into affect at 10:59 pm until 5:30 am the next day.
By email, Linley told WREG the curfew is aimed at not only cutting crime but a way to keep juveniles from becoming victims.
“The purpose of the curfew is to aid in crime prevention; to promote parental supervision and authority over minors; and to promote the safety of juveniles that have crimes committed against them during these hours,” Linley said.
Linley stressed his department does currently enforce the curfew with citations, fines and if needed, jail time.
Ben Lewis is on the staff of GRIOT ARTS Inc. in Clarksdale, which provides opportunities to youth ages 8-24 through after school arts programs and learning job skills. Lewis says he’s come to realize there are a variety of issues facing youth in this Delta community, and while a a curfew can help, it’s not the only solution.
“Generally speaking, the ones that are out at night are out, for a variety of reasons, but many times it’s because they don’t have a safe home environment or a home environment at all,” Lewis said.
There are exceptions to the curfew, like when a minor is accompanied by his or her parent or if the minor is legally employed or in the case of an emergency.