Youth curfew proposed in Aiken

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News 12 First at Five; April 28, 2008

AIKEN, S.C. --- The City of Aiken wants to get kids off the streets late at night and get them involved in more activities. Part of the plan calls for a youth curfew. The hours would be for kids 16 and under, from 11:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. during school days. During the summer and on non-school nights, the curfew would be midnight until 5:00 a.m.

On Monday, the Crosland Park neighborhood in Aiken was pretty quiet. Just a few cars passing by and lots of rain drops. That quiet is something Darlene Upson hopes to hear more of, especially late at night in her neighborhood.

"It's definitely has been a problem," says Darlene.

She's talking about vandalism, bullying and other problems she's seen.

She hopes the city shuts the door on those problems. Just last year, vandalism was found in the Crosland Park neighborhood. Some of it is still in the neighborhood today. She hopes the city straps on the seat belt with their proposed city-wide youth protection ordinance. It's aimed at taking kids off the streets at night and giving them something to do.

"That way they would have an outlet of something to do with all that energy," says Darlene.

With the start up of free camps aimed at 10 to 14 year olds in the summer months in her neighborhood.

"They are just so used to just hanging out," says Darlene.

Just hanging out and stepping out at night. The plan would be to keep an eye on the kids by restricting the hours kids can walk the streets.

"I don't see what you're doing out of the house at that age anyway that late. 12 o'clock, I don't even allow mine -- I don't allow my 20-year-old to be out at that time of night," says Darlene.

Something Captain Wendell Hall with the Aiken Department of Public Safety saw when he was on patrol years back.

"2, 3, 4 o'clock in the morning riding bikes, no where to go. Nothing to do. They should be home," says Capt. Hall.

But, can they keep a birds eye view and control the problem?

"Certainly, it is enforceable," says Capt. Hall.

The first hearing of two on this ordinance is scheduled for Monday night. You can let your opinion be heard at the next reading, scheduled for May 12th.

Of course, this ordinance would only be enforceable if it is passed as a city ordinance.

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