Mississippi city, county considers teen curfew to slow crime

Published 12:02 pm Sunday, May 9, 2021

Both the city of Starkville and Oktibbeha county are weighing whether to impose a curfew on teenagers as a way to curb crime.

WCBI television reported that the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors will hold a public meeting on June 7 to discuss a possible curfew for grade school kids 18 and younger. Under the proposal, kids would have be home from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday. On Fridays and Sundays the curfew would start at midnight and last until 6 a.m.

“It’s going to be a tool that we can use to help our law enforcement to be able to monitor some of the activity that takes place after dark around here in the county,” board member Marvell Howard told the television station.

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The city of Starkville is also weighing a curfew. On Tuesday the mayor, Lynn Spruill, called for a public hearing to discuss a curfew for teenagers similar to one that was implemented years ago in the town of Meridian.

The proposed curfew in Starkville would also be from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. Then on Fridays and Saturdays the hours would extend until midnight as well as in the summer when school is out.

Mayor Spruill told the television station that there would be exceptions in cases where kids were coming home from afterschool activities or work, for example.

In the long-term, the solution is to have more programs for kids so they can do something constructive with their time, say area leaders. But they say the curfew is needed now. According to the city’s police department, 10 juveniles have been charged as adults with violent crimes so far this year.

“There have been a number of recent events that have caught the public’s attention,” Sgt. Brandon Lovelady told the station. “And of those incidents, nearly all of them involved juveniles and firearms.”