ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Roanoke City Council members are asking residents to weigh in on if the current curfew is working, and what may need to change.
That curfew, for youth 16 years or younger, runs Sunday through Thursday from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Then from Friday until Saturday from midnight to 5 a.m.
With only a handful of people making an appearance at the meeting located at William Flemming High School, concerned residents took to the stand, some in favor of a curfew.
“If a 10 o’clock curfew is going to make sure my child gets into the house and makes sure my child is awake and living the next morning, that is a small task to ask,” said Darnell Woods, a Roanoke Resident.
While others were opposed.
“One, this curfew will make it more difficult to be young than it already is during these trying times. Two, it will waste our scarce public resources that will be used and allocated to combating actual crime,” said Dominic Harden, a Roanoke Resident.
Others shared their ideas on how the council can combat the rising gun violence.
“You got to send a message. They got to see somebody they identify from. I had nine bullets in my body, I got shot six times with a nine millimeter in one night… I have been there. I got battle scars. I’m a warrior from the streets,” said Jerry McGeorge, a Roanoke Resident.
Some residents even volunteered their services to implement better Summer programs to help keep youth off the streets.
One Resident Naomi Clements, who is against the curfew, says there have to be other ways.
Clements says we need to figure out the group that is causing the gun violence. She says COVID is another factor that has set many children back in their schooling.
“I don’t see many activities being planned for parks and recreation for the Summer. I think the city could find young men and women who are a little older than a teenage group that could be running baseball teams, or softball teams. I will volunteer right now to do math or art,” said Clements.
Mayor Sherman Lea, who is in favor of the curfew, responded to the concerns saying the goal is not about locking people up.
“It’s about citing them and letting them know that if you are out at a certain hour at night, we want to make sure you are protected,” said Mayor Lea.
If adopted the curfew will address expanding hours, punitive action, and more for all youth in Roanoke City.
“To go into the ICU, to see a kid struggling for his life, and to know that he was shot on his way to a convenience store — that concerns me badly,” said Mayor Lea.
He adds the goal is to have a new curfew implemented by the spring or summer if the council votes in favor of it. He also hopes the next public hearing will have more of a turnout to get the community involved in lessening crime.
That hearing will be held on March 30th, at Patrick Henry High School.