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Council passes curfew for 2nd time

BY NICOLE KARLIS | DECEMBER 02, 2009 7:20 AM

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After two months of waiting, the juvenile curfew is back on the Iowa City City Council’s agenda — with a new amendment.

After adding the amendment, which requires an annual review of any data related to the curfew, councilors voted 4-3 to again move forward with the ordinance on Tuesday evening. It was the City Council’s second consideration.

While some are still opposed to the idea of a curfew, councilors indicated the change will most likely be implemented.

“It looks like we’ll have a curfew,” said Mayor Regenia Bailey, who has consistently opposed the curfew. “We can all see things are changing here; this is a critical fork in the road for Iowa City.”

The curfew was first introduced to the City Council when residents asked councilors to consider it as a solution to curb violence after a summer filled with crime. The council passed its first consideration of the ordinance on Sept. 15.

However, at its second reading on Sept. 29, the issue took a turn when Councilor Mike Wright requested a deferral after residents pleaded for some time to come up with their own solution.

Since then, some local residents have been searching for other options to control juvenile violence.
Sue Freeman, the director of the Broadway Center and a member of the Safe Neighborhoods Coalition, told the City Council the coalition has distributed more than 300 surveys to residents asking what they’d like to see in their community.

“Everyone wants the same thing,” she said. “To feel safe and to prosper here.”

While results are not available yet from the surveys, she said, she plans to announce the data when they are ready and use them to create a plan to accomplish what the curfew could by April.

Despite those group efforts, firm supporters of the ordinance also shared their thoughts Tuesday.

Cindy Roberts, a member of the Grant Wood Neighborhood Association, said she continues to support the curfew.

“A curfew is not an oddity, it’s not something unusual,” she said, and it will serve as a “tool” for the police.

Councilors Wright, Connie Champion, Matt Hayek, and Mike O’Donnell supported the ordinance.

“It will be applied evenly throughout the city,” O’Donnell said. “I have great confidence in the Police Department.”

The potential curfew is a tiered system that requires children 13-years-old and under to be indoors by 10 p.m.; 16- and 17-year-olds have until midnight.

Exceptions to the curfew include school, religious, and government activities, with some restrictions.


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