New emphasis on old curfew prompted by vandalism
Idle hands, it is said, are the devil’s playthings.
Hanging out late at night doesn’t help either when it comes to causing damage to private and public property.
Prompted by an increase in the number of vandalism and destructive mischief types of complaints, local officials recently revealed their plan for ways to mitigate the problem.
Mayor Brian LaRose said the issue had been coming to the forefront more and more over the past year and now the village board has decided they must act to knock the problem down before it gets any worse.
Although the board drafted new rules for the band stand in Veterans Park recently, LaRose thought no new laws will be needed in this effort.
“That’s basically what it’s going to be, we’re going to better enforce the laws that we already have,” LaRose said.
The mayor said he met with Granville police Chief Ernie Bassett Jr. and together the two decided the first step in curtailing acts of vandalism and property destruction are to reduce the opportunity to commit them.
Chief Bassett said he stressed enforcement of the village’s curfew to officers during a department meeting following the meeting with LaRose.
“We’re going to be more proactive about this issue. This is definitely something we’re going to be addressing further,” Bassett said.
LaRose said vandalism at the Slate Valley Museum in early July within what is being called the Cultural Campus really brought the issue to the forefront.
Although the two teens accused of being responsible for the destruction were caught and arrested and now face charges, the damage was found in the early morning hours and likely occurred just before or just after midnight and thus the renewed emphasis on the curfew.
The curfew restricts children 16 years old and younger to the area immediately adjacent their homes after 9 p.m.
“We’re going to take a more pro-active, aggressive approach to enforcing the curfew. Does it mean that at 9:15 p.m. police area going to start stopping kids on the street, no, but by 9:45 or 10 p.m., then we’re going to have an issue,” LaRose said.
“Meaning, if they appear to be underage we’ll approach them and they’ll have to produce some kind of identification; if they can’t and they are out past the curfew then we’ll take them to their parent or guardian and they will be ticketed and ordered into Family Court,” Bassett said. Parents will be ticketed for each child under the age of 16 found out after 9 p.m.
To alert the public, LaRose said new signs are on the way listing the new rules for the bandstand.
Additional new signs regarding loitering in the Cultural Campus area have also been ordered and will be installed near the foot bridge soon.
With the signs in place Bassett said police now have leverage in ordering someone to move along from what is essentially a public place. It also provides another option, should that individual decide against relocating.
“If they choose not to move along then we can proceed with a trespass complaint,” Bassett said.
With the increased attention, and other options still under consideration, officials hope to see a noticeable drop in reports of property damage crimes.
“This is a respect issue for other people’s property, basically. We know we’re talking about a very small minority of the youth in the community but we’re hoping this will send a signal that the village and the taxpayers have had enough of this,” LaRose said.