Oxford studies possible curfew for youth

Oxford StockBy Errol Castens
Daily Journal

OXFORD – Responding to incidents in recent months where out-of-control crowds threatened public safety, Oxford officials Tuesday discussed the possibility of a youth curfew.

Police Chief Joey East’s proposal would forbid anyone age 16 or under to be at large after 10 p.m.

Mayor Pat Patterson introduced video at Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting of the latest such incident, when people were leaving a downtown party shortly before midnight on Aug. 26.

“I have been reluctant about bringing this to public attention, but I think it’s important people know about this,” Patterson said.

East said his concern is less that late-roaming teens might commit crimes as they might be victimized.

“When I was young, we hung out on the Square, but there were only two bars, and nobody bothered us,” East said.

Now, bars dominate downtown Oxford after 9 p.m., and late-night disturbances are frequent.

Patterson noted underage drinking adds to the risk to youths.

“You can take $100 and buy a high-quality fake ID online,” he said. “Every one of these kids has a very valid (looking) 21-year-old ID.”

East said other cities’ curfew laws varied in the ages involved, and while his proposal would be citywide, he said, “we know some cities are doing it just in their bar areas.”

Both Patterson and East emphasized the proposal needs to be shaped by public input.

“I want to … get everybody talking about it so we make the right decision,” East said. “It’s not an emergency.”

Patterson said he also would not push for a quick decision.

“The world’s changing,” he lamented. “Let’s keep this on the forefront. … We’re going to keep after this.”

errol.castens@journalinc.com

  • DoubleTalk

    Am I reading this correctly ? The Mayor and Police Chief are saying its not the youth being out, it is the bar’s and possibility of being victimized. So the answer is…….Lock up the Youth ? Heck the Police Chief even relates to the number of bars in his youth and not being bothered.

    This is Tupelo mentality. Don’t address the real problem, put it on others. All this mentality from a town hosting a College offering Doctorate Degrees.

  • DoubleTalk

    Am I reading this correctly ? The Mayor and Police Chief are saying its not the youth being out, it is the bar’s and possibility of being victimized. So the answer is…….Lock up the Youth ? Heck the Police Chief even relates to the number of bars in his youth and not being bothered.

    This is Tupelo mentality. Don’t address the real problem, put it on others. All this mentality from a town hosting a College offering Doctorate Degrees.