ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR)– Young adults and community safety were two big talkers on March 30th, 2023, as City Council held its second public hearing about a proposed curfew for minors.
Residents in attendance opposed the idea of updating the current curfew. Not one speaker showed up in support.
“I feel like this curfew would not work,” said one resident.
Many gave reasons as to why the curfew is not a positive thing. One speaker claims she googled the history of melatonin levels in children, and results show minors don’t get tired until around 10:30. Others spoke about over-policing.
“We are going to see people pulled over constantly. We are going to see violence in the street caused by over-policing,” said another resident.
Currently, the city’s curfew runs from Sunday through Thursday from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., and Friday to Saturday, from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Some residents say if the hours are extended, it’s going to cause fear.
“A large percent are doing the right things. They are good children, they are attending school, they are working,” said Dr. Brenda Hale, Roanoke NAACP Chapter President.
Mayor Sherman Lea, who is for the curfew, feels those residents are confused about what the curfew is about.
“This is about safety, this about saving and protecting children, because of the violence that is going on,” said Lea.
He believes even with the dis approvement, an updated curfew needs to be added. However, resident, Phazhon Nash, who spoke, said the solution is adding more free activities to the Roanoke area. They also discussed how the lack of access to the pool during the Summer, which remains under construction, is not a positive outcome, because minors will have nothing to do.
Additionally, the activities that Roanoke does have are too expensive for some parents to afford. Nash shared growing up this is the reason he went to school in Northern Virginia to have more extra-curricular activities.
“What are they going to do? Go downtown and get a drink? The only thing to do downtown is go to the brewery,” said Nash.
Another resident Adrian Davis says violence in the city comes down to the lack of discipline.
“If you didn’t have the dishes done when your mommy or daddy was at work or if you were in a single-family household, you had to get it done, if not, the neighbors were going to get you,” said Davis.
Patrick Henry High School student Jayveon Tucker even gave one solution that had the council taking notes.
“I think if we can get traveling stipends to get a job that will get them off the streets,” said Tucker.
Mayor Lea says after these two public sessions city council is back to discuss.