Clayton Town Council to take up curfew

Staff WriterJuly 20, 2009 

CLAYTON -- The Town Council will consider a proposal tonight to set a curfew for children under age 16.

Russell Cotten, organizing coordinator for the North Side Community Watch Partners, proposed the curfew in May.

Cotten, an associate pastor with Mount Vernon Christian Church, said the idea came up at a meeting of the group in April after a local home was broken into. Cotten said the home's residents, including a baby and senior citizens, were terrorized.

"It was brought to everybody's attention kids were out at 2 or 3 in the morning," said Cotten, who filed to run for one of the council's three seats this fall. "Kids at the meeting said they were being intimidated by people."

Cotten presented two proposals at the May 18 meeting. One would require children under 16 to stay off public property or the premises of any establishment between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. The second would set a curfew between midnight and 6 a.m.

The meeting at the town council chambers, 111 E. Second St., starts at 7:30 p.m.

Town council member Bob Satterfield said he expects to get more information about the proposal tonight.

"What I need to know is why do we need it," he said. "There's going to be youth and they're going to get in trouble and I think you might be getting too much government in it. I'm concerned about that."

Satterfield, who has served on the council for 12 years and is up for re-election this fall, said he didn't realize there was a problem in Clayton. According to the Clayton Police Department's Web site, the actual overall crime rate per capita decreased between 2007 and 2008.

Bob Ahlert, the council's mayor pro tem who also is up for re-election, said the town's police department has reported the ordinance won't cause an excessive burden. But he said, according to the department's investigation of other towns with similar rules, they don't make much difference.

"If that's what the community wants, so be it," Ahlert said. "If they had put a heavy burden or anticipated heavy burden on our police department, I would have to think long and hard on it."

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service