Doubts raised over Columbia teen curfew

Jun 27, 2013

Columbia Chief Ken Burton announced the idea of a teen curfew at a news conference on Wednesday.
Credit Rickelle Pimentel / KBIA

Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton is calling for a teen curfew after two shootings occurred in Columbia earlier this month.

He announced the idea at a news conference Wednesday and is expected to write up a formal proposal to present to City Council within the next month.

Fifth-ward council representative Laura Nauser said she proposed the idea of a teen curfew in 2008, as part of a larger approach to curbing violent crimes. But, Nauser said she ultimately determined a curfew was not the appropriate solution unless it was coupled with an intervention program to help the teens who are caught violating it.

“It has to be a multifaceted approach and just giving a child a ticket or a referral so to say for a curfew violation is not going to solve the problem,” Nauser said.

Nauser said she would still oppose a teen curfew unless it is coupled with intervention measures to keep teens out of the juvenile system. She said she favors a three-tiered approach where teens would be reprimanded with a warning upon the first offense, and wouldn’t face court charges until the third offense.

“I do not want one curfew violation to lead to a trip or contact with the juvenile office because the more contact a child has with the juvenile office, it changes their whole peer relationship,” Nauser said. “It ends up creating more trouble in the long run.”