GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) – Recent shootings of Goldsboro-area teens prompted calls from the community for a teen curfew.
Operation Unite Goldsboro organizer Mark Colebrook said he began to research how other cities are dealing with issues involving overnight break-ins, burglaries, and vandalism. Colebrook said he found success stories of curfews in Kansas City and New Orleans.
Such ordinances prohibit many minors from being unsupervised in public places from around midnight until 5 or 6 a.m. There are exceptions, such as work or school activities.
Several North Carolina cities and towns have similar regulations, often titled Youth Protection Ordinances. Councils and commissions passed rules in Benson, Charlotte, Greenville, Henderson, Kinston, Knightdale, Smithfield, and Wake Forest.
Fayetteville mayor Nat Robertson proposed imposing a curfew in 2014, but the city decided not to take action following input from the police chief.
Colebrook said he would like to Goldsboro join the list of cities with curfews.
“It’s a starting point. We can say we’re starting here. We know a lot of people aren’t going to like it, and some people have already voiced that on Facebook, saying it’s not going to work. Well, we don’t know, because we’ve never had one,” Colebrook said.
“I don’t see any negatives. The negatives are having to bury your son at 18,” he said.
“If you tell me curfew or funeral, I’ll take curfew over funeral any time.”
Goldsboro City Council member Gene Aycock said he willing to look at anything that could cut crime and curb violence in the city. He said the city made vast improvements in recent years by implementing such technologies as Tsunami cameras and the Shotspotter gunfire detection system.
Aycock doesn’t want to jump into an ordinance and then finding out it is not productive or effective for the city. However, he is open to the idea and plans to research its feasibility.
“We’ve got to find something to keep the kids off the streets at night, either by offering activities or if it comes to it, maybe a curfew,” Aycock said.
Councilman Bill Broaadway said he likes the concept but doesn’t know if Goldsboro has the manpower to enforce it. He said he plans to look at curfew laws and discuss them with the police department and sheriff’s office.
Broadaway said the best part of the proposal is that it came from his constituents.
“What’s the most encouraging about this whole thing is that we’ve got folks in the community thinking about ways to help us. They’re looking for other ways that we can curb some of this violence,” Broadaway said.
“Hopefully it will be part of another arrow in our quiver.”
High school senior Jacob McCotter, who is 19 and would not be affected by a curfew, said he does not think such an ordinance would keep teens from causing trouble.
“Somebody that has bad intentions is not going to just stop because you say ‘hey, don’t go outside past 11 o’clock, in between the hours of 11 and 6’. That’s not going to stop them,” McCotter said.
He said a juvenile curfew also won’t work unless it’s strongly enforced, and that it will take participation of parents to help police their own children.