Valdosta looks into new curfew law to fight rising crime by minors

By: Noelani Mathews | WCTV Eyewitness News
August 8, 2017

courtesy: MGN Online

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Residents say kids under the age of 17 have been roaming the streets of Valdosta past midnight.

"Some of the kids say I don't want to talk to you," says Doug Robinson with Citizens Against Violence. "One even told me 'it's none of your business.'"

It's not the first time the group of men trying to help troubled kids has heard these kinds of comments.

"I'll say, 'you should try to make it on home.' Well, a lot of them don't go home," says Eddie Hall, with CAV.

The Valdosta Police Department says it's no coincidence that crime rises when school is out.

Authorities have seen a spike in vehicle break-ins this summer. A majority of the people who have been charged are minors.

Police say many of the crimes committed by juveniles share similar circumstances, like the time of day. A majority of the break-ins happened between midnight and 5:00 a.m.

VPD Chief Brian Childress says an ordinance is now in the works to combat crimes by teens.The ordinance would enforce a midnight curfew to keep young repeat offenders off the streets.

The punishment for being out after curfew is charges and fines - for parents and guardians.

"I'm tired of law enforcement being inconvenienced by these calls, so it's time to inconvenience the parents," says Childress.

He believes it will keep everyone responsible and accountable, even if it's unfavorable to working and single parents.

"One woman told me, 'my kid is not violent,' I said, 'I never said your kid was violent,'" says Robinson, who tried helping another parent.

"24 hours later, they're right back there at the same spot doing the same thing. Why?" says Glen Bridges, with CAV.

Concerned citizens and victims of crime put it simply:

"If you don't want violence to happen, don't let your kids be out there doing the violence," says Bridges.

Chief Childress says he hopes to present the ordinance to the mayor and city council in the upcoming weeks.