ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — Atlantic City officials are bringing back an old yet bold strategy to curb violence. The Atlantic City Police Department is bringing back a curfew.
Just a week ago, loved ones said goodbye to 15-year-old Naimah Bell — one of three teens killed in Atlantic City this summer.
“To lose our babies to senseless violence just takes everything to another level and left us searching for answers,” Atlantic City Council President Marty Small said.
As city leaders work on new solutions to address the underlying causes for the surge in recent violence, the police department is reviving an old method for protecting the city’s youth, making them go home at night by enforcing a 10 p.m. curfew.
“I think it’s awesome and I think it should be strictly enforced because there’s too much going on with the kids,” Atlantic City resident Tamara Henry said.
The juvenile curfew was adopted in 2006 when Atlantic City experienced a similar rash of violence targeting the youth.
Starting Thursday, police say they plan to strictly enforce the law by stopping anyone on the street who appears to be under 18 between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Violators will be brought to the police station for their parents or guardians to pick them up, and both child and adult could face fines of up to $1,000.
Sakeenah Davis grew up in Atlantic City decades ago when a siren would blare at 9:30 p.m. telling kids to go home. She and Henry say parents have to get involved to make the curfew work.
“Well, we had parents that cared so they were calling their kids in. You could yell their name and they were in front of the house,” Davis said.
“I think that’s what most parents need to do. They have to be accountable for where they have their children at, and their children need to be in house at a decent hour because that’s when crazy stuff happens after house,” Henry said.
Police say there are exceptions to the curfew –any teens returning home from work or children who are with their parents.