'It's a climbing scale.' Fayetteville City Council considering a curfew to curb youth violence

Monique John Image
Tuesday, September 5, 2023
Fayetteville City considering en a curfew to curb youth violence
EMBED <>More Videos

The curfew would prohibit those under18 from gathering in public spaces from midnight to 5 a.m. on weeknights and from 1 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekends

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The city of Fayetteville is considering implementing a curfew to try to stop youth violence.

Some leaders say the idea could cut down on juvenile crime but others say they're worried vulnerable children could be unfairly impacted.

On Tuesday, Police Chief Kem Braden will propose to the city council an ordinance prohibiting anyone under the age of 18 from gathering in public spaces from midnight to 5 a.m. on weeknights and from 1 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekends. The goal is to diminish youth crime rates--particularly gun violence.

"It's a climbing scale," said Council Member D.J. Haire. "And then it's a climbing scale all across the country. So I am open to different avenues that we can use to curtail violence and youth violence."

During last week's city council meeting, Chief Braden presented the latest crime stats showing that for 2023, homicides are up 23 percent compared to last year. The police department also reports juveniles have been charged with a total of almost 130 murder, attempted murder and assault charges this year. Juveniles have been charged in 65 weapons violations cases and other shooting-related incidents.

Some councilmembers tell ABC11 a curfew could keep kids out of trouble:

"I think that this is a starting point. I think for minors, they should be at home, anyway--especially during a school night," said Council Member Courtney Banks-McLaughlin.

"People who are under a certain age, if they don't have an emergency or medical reason or some justifiable reason, there needs to be some type of guideline for supervision, and a curfew could be one approach to that," said Mayor Mitch Colvin.

Mayor Pro Tem Johnny Dawkins says he's willing to give the curfew ordinance a try, but that considerations should be made for children under certain circumstances that require them to be out late at odd hours.

"We need to be cognizant of young people who have jobs and we need to give them some grace on the curfew."

But critics say they're concerned this could backfire and create unintended consequences for vulnerable, marginalized young people.


Council Member Deno Hondros issued a written statement, saying:

"With the proposed curfew, anyone younger than 18 past the suggested time is subject to being stopped and questioned whether they are breaking the law or not. There is no need for probable cause. I see this as government overreach of our civil liberties, of the civil liberties of our youth."

"These types of laws end up creating more unnecessary interactions with police for vulnerable communities," said Council Member Mario Benavente. "Then in fact, they don't ultimately reduce crime. Instead, they criminalize young people for wanting to get out of situations at home that they don't want to be around.

City officials say it's unclear when city council could vote on the proposed curfew ordinance.

Related | Fayetteville awarded 70K to address delinquency, gun violence

Fayetteville council members want study on the cost of gun violence

Fayetteville Police make arrests in string of thefts targeting Kia and Hyundai vehicles