Curfew violators keeping police busy

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A crime alert out of North Richmond Thursday night. Car thefts are on the rise in the Ginter Park area, up 42 percent from this time last year. But police have another issue that's taking up just as much of their time.

Police in north Richmond say more teens are violating the city's curfew and it is tying up officers who could be patrolling the streets for more serious crime.

It's illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to be out past 11:00 in the city.

Rachel DePompa: "Do you think people respect it?"
Javon Howard, 18 year old Richmond resident. "No not really, I didn't when I was younger; I stayed outside throwing the football and whatever, late night."

But teens staying out late eventually mean more work for Richmond police.

"Picking up these juveniles, taking them back to their parents, it's taking officers off the road when they could be in those neighborhoods directing their patrols somewhere else," said Richmond Police Lt. Brian Corrigan.

It's taking officers off the road for up to an hour each night at a critical time: 11 to midnight when crime is spiking.

In June, 17 vehicles were stolen in four north Richmond neighborhoods - Ginter Park, North Barton Heights, Brookland Park and Edgewood.

Police have even scheduled over-time for extra patrols, but the curfew violators are cutting in to that valuable time.

"It bothers me because they shouldn't have to because the parents should see that their kids are in the house and the police can do other jobs," said Richmond resident Charlotte Strayhorn.

Charlotte Strayhorn lives in Edgewood, someone once tried to steal both of her cars.

"It's terrible when you come out to your car and get in there trying to start it and it doesn't start because somebody has broken whatever they break to keep you from starting it," Strayhorn said.

Police are asking parents to make sure your teens respect the curfew, so officers can stay on the roads.

"You never know just having a marked police car in the area. There's no way to measure what you're deterring. Because you are preventing it from happening," said Corrigan.

Repeat offenders could end up in juvenile court where they face a $500 fine and up to 20 hours of community service.

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