KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Kinston Mayor Don Hardy is reintroducing a youth curfew ordinance that was first implemented in 2006.

Hardy and another city official agreed that measures need to be put in place to reduce the violence in the community, but the measures they want to take differ.

One city council member said over the last few weeks, there have been a number of large fights between middle school and high school students. Some involved weapons; in one case, two people were shot.

City officials said summer is usually a time when the youth crime rate increases.

City council member Chris Suggs said the community is frustrated with the issue, but some people believe there’s a better way to help the situation than implementing a curfew. He suggested adding programs and resources.

“What we as a city have to do, especially our city leadership, we need to promote and champion these things so that our young people know about them and can access them,” said Suggs. “We also need to invest more of our time, and money, and resources into those types of programs.”

He added youth need to feel safe and supported no matter the time of day. The proposed curfew would start at 9 p.m. and last until 6 a.m. for those under the age of 18 who are not accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Hardy said the curfew is the best option right now.

“So, this is my goal is to help reduce some of the crime and to help reduce some of the things that have taken place in our community more,” Hardy said. “So to save their lives, and hopefully, many others.”

Hardy said long-term options could come later, but something has to be put into place now.

“Crime doesn’t just end at 9 o’clock,” Suggs said. “There are incidents that happen throughout the day. In fact, some of our more recent shootings have happened in broad daylight.”

“We must do something in the time that we can do it. Or if we do not, they will end up being in a position where we have to continuously go to funerals, continuously go and talk to parents or
loved ones that have lost their children who were 16 years of age,” Hardy said.

Suggs encouraged parents and the community to talk with the city council and mayor about the curfew. Hardy said he looks forward to seeing what is to come.

Kinston’s City Council meeting will be held on June 7 at 5:30 p.m. That’s when the discussion around the curfew will take place — and, if it is approved, it could be implemented that night.

For more information on the meeting and agenda click here.