Clinton all-ages curfew draws mixed feelings from residents, business owners
POSTED: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - 5:10pm
UPDATED: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 6:03pm
CLINTON, La (NBC33) — The town of Clinton is under some new summer hours that have several in the community up in arms.
When the lights go out in the town of Clinton, it's best not to be caught out on the streets.
"If I see a vehicle at 2:00 in the morning continually driving around a neighborhood, I want the driver of that vehicle to be questioned as to why he's in that neighborhood at that time of the morning," stated Clinton Police Chief Fred Dunn.
Clinton Police are now in the middle of a town-wide curfew between the hours of 11:00 p.m.-6:00 a.m. It’s a curfew police say all started after a recent rash of crimes.
"We have homeowners that have approached me saying that they got people standing in the street, they got cars blocking the street. And we're just basically trying to help them get home and stop trouble before it actually happens," explained Chief Dunn.
Auto body shop owner, James Harrell said he is all for the curfew, especially after three of his customers' cars fell victim to crime in the middle of the night.
"A car came up the road, left the road and tore up three cars, and just drove away. We looked that night, the police looked that night, I rode and looked that night, and we couldn't find the car that did this damage," explained James Harrell, owner of James’ Auto Body Repair in Clinton.
While some business owners say they're pretty happy about this new curfew, others who operate on a more 24/7 basis worry it could be bad for business.
"We do pretty good business. We’re the only store open 24 hours here in Clinton, and we do pretty good business between the hours of 11:00 and 2:00. So yeah, I think that would really hurt us," explained Tammy Childress, an employee of the only 24/7 gas station and market in town.
Others feel the rules are just a little too strict.
"I think that's kind of stripping people's rights to come and go as they please. Which we should all have the right to do," added Childress.
"It could be 9:30, 10:00 and I am at Carraba's in Baton Rouge eating or something, and by the time I get back it's going to be 11:00, and I am going to get pulled over because I went and had something to eat with my girlfriend and my baby? Are you kidding me? It’s kind of weird,” said Dakota Calingasan. Calingasan lives in Clinton but commutes daily to Baton Rouge.
The curfew will continue until July 31. It does apply to both adults and children. Chief Dunn said the first time you will get let off with a verbal warning, the second a summons and the third could land you a court date.
Dunn also explained that officers are told to use discretion in each case. If someone lives in Clinton and is headed to or from work he said they probably would not be bothered.