|Published:||Aug 06, 2012 10:37 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Aug 06, 2012 10:37 PM EDT|
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Fort Myers is taking another step toward changing its curfew for teens. Monday night, the city council weighed in on a plan to keep kids inside to cut back on crime.
The idea under consideration would change curfew times for minor from 11pm to 9pm on Sundays through Thursdays, and from midnight to 11pm on weekends and holidays.
"This council's very frustrated. We had another homicide last night," said Mayor Randy Henderson, who noted the roots of the curfew discussion, following a recent spike in homicides that have made headlines in the city.
"Anything that's going to greatly assist in reducing juvenile crime, or juvenile victims of crime, is a positive thing," said Fort Myers Police Chief Doug Baker.
Police say two of the 16 murder victims this year were under 18 and out after the current curfew.
Chief Doug Baker says in many of the cases, the suspects-- and even some victims-- had criminal histories that started young. He believes a stronger curfew could be another tool to keep kids from committing crimes.
"I think what our goal is, is to interrupt that cycle at a very young age, and put that kid going in a different direction," Baker said.
The mayor urged caution to avoid penalizing kids who do follow the rules, but the plan's supporters say there are safeguards for that.
"It doesn't restrict anyone doing an activity for school or anything like that, and if they're with their parents, everything is safe," said council member Teresa Watkins-Brown.
"It's not to punish any of our good youth, but I think its to protect all of our citizens," said council member Johnny Streets.
The mayor says he's heard from several people who've encouraged a curfew change.
In a city concerned about crime, it's an idea some council members say is worth considering.
"I'm just saying let's try it, to do something," Watkins-Brown said.
Monday's vote doesn't change anything yet; it merely moves the discussion ahead to a public hearing.
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