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With an increased focus on criminal activity occurring after dark from young people, Hamburg Borough Council is considering different ways of possibly instituting a curfew in the borough.
“It was suggestedthat we maybe want to get a solicitor and see if he has any sample ordinances we could take a look at, if we want to go through with this,”said Lynda Albright, borough manager,
The process is a collaboration between borough council and its solicitors—the solicitors drawing up possible ordinances, and the council suggesting changes.
One recent sample of a curfew ordinance, for instance, would set a general curfew from midnight to 5 a.m. Monday to Friday, and from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. on weekends.
The whole process might take anywhere from one to three months, depending on what changes are made to the draw-ups.
“If the council is satisfiedthere won’t be any issues,” Albright said. “There might be a few minor changes, which is typical.”
Of course, it all depends as well on whether a curfew by law is legal at all; some might bring up objections on the basis of Freedom of Movement, or even on constitutional grounds.
“This would be something the solicitor has to take into consideration,” Albright said.
“If it’s legal, we’ll do it; if it’s not, we won’t,” said another council member at a Safety Committee discussion on July 17.
The process is being initiated due to an added focus on after-hours criminal activity from teens and other young persons.
“The big thing I keep hearing from the community is how kids are going into people’s vehicles and taking whatever money they can find—not material items, but change and such,”said Albright.
But there have been other incidents recently—including with a group of tenants and homeowners who visited the Safety Committee during their July 17 meeting.
The visitors did not wish to be named, or their situation to be specified, due to fear of being attacked again.
This was a problem with their neighbors and surrounding area as well.
“The others won’t call,” said one. “They’re afraid of retaliation.”
“I just want to be left alone,” said one visitor. “I don’t bother anyone. I don’t make a speck of noise…these kids have no right to do what they did.”
Albright herself felt that “times have changed;” that things had become more dangerous since when one visitor was a child.
“You have some kids in this community who think they’re just going to…they’re destructive, they’re obnoxious,” Albright said. “I think we have to do what we can to make the residents of the community feel safe. That’s the bottom line.”
“Times have changed,” Albright said. “So we’re going to try again .”