Hattiesburg curfew a precautionary measure - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Hattiesburg curfew a precautionary measure

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

The Hattiesburg curfew is not designed to specifically reduce crime, but to stand as a precautionary measure, officials say.

The ordinance is targeted at residents 18-years-old and younger, and takes effect at 11 p.m. on weekdays, and midnight on the weekends. The purpose of this ordinance is to ensure the streets are safe, and reduce the crime rate for after hours during the summer, officials state.

Hattiesburg Public Information Officer Eric Proulx the purpose of the ordinance isn't to drastically reduce crime rates. "It only partially changes the crime rate because it only targets juveniles," Proulx said. "The whole point of this ordinance is to have quieter streets and avoid neighbor and property disturbances."

Statistics for property damage, disturbances and burglaries for the city of Hattiesburg are all averaged online. However, the statistics do not distinguish how many crimes were committed by minors, or their hours.

The city of Jackson also instates a curfew, and the results of their ordinance prove to be the same.

"Every now and then the curfew is enforced, however, I can't find any stories with concrete information about it impacting the crime rate," WLBT reporter Wilson Stribling said. "The crime rate is going to be high regardless."

Jackson's curfew was created in the past 10 years, and is stricter than the Hattiesburg curfew. Jackson has a curfew for school hours that fines any parent of a child who is seen outside of school during the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Those caught on weekends between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. receive a fine as well. Weekend hours are the same as Hattiesburg.

 Oak Grove sophomore Mary Margaret Hyer believes the Hattiesburg ordinance is a waste of time. "I don't think the ordinance affects anything; teenagers will be out past curfew regardless of what the ordinance says. This shouldn't only target minors either," said Hyer. "An adult can do the same crime at the same hour of night, in fact, adults are probably more likely to, and so where is their curfew?" Hyer continued.

Regardless of the lack of statistical evidence to support the curfew, Mayor Johnny Dupree still believes it is needed for the city of Hattiesburg. "Kids don't need to be out at that time of night," Dupree said. "The curfew has always been around, and it needs to continue to be enforced."

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