Citizens rebuff city curfew

Thursday, September 18, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:56 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Members of the NAACP and some concerned citizens have been knocking on First Ward doors to ask residents for their opinions on a proposed curfew ordinance, and for any alternative ideas they have for reducing juvenile crime.

Mary Ratliff, president of the Columbia branch of the NAACP, said she and nine other people surveyed at least 80 residents Tuesday evening in the Park Street area and in public housing around St. Paul Church.

“We were real, real pleased with the responses we got,” Ratliff said.

The group split into four teams and went door-to-door asking parents about their views on a curfew ordinance the City Council has been considering. Ratliff and other opponents feel a curfew would be ineffective.

In June, First Ward City Councilwoman Almeta Crayton tabled the curfew ordinance, which she had proposed. Crayton invited community members to offer other suggestions for combating crime.

Ratliff said most of the parents she spoke with were strongly opposed to a curfew and felt more activities should be offered for youth instead. One resident surveyed, Kietra Jones, 25, said a curfew will not keep children off the streets.

In addition to polling parents for their opinions on the issue, Ratliff said, the group invited them to come to the NAACP meeting Oct. 28 to further discuss alternatives to a curfew.

Clyde Hyler, 18, is a Park Street area resident who was not surveyed, but said he would attend a meeting to discuss more programs for kids.

“Any activities will work,” he said. “Less free time gives less time to do anything wrong.”

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