Authorities Taking Steps to Curb Juvenile Crime - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

06/09/05

Authorities Taking Steps to Curb Juvenile Crime

Parenting can be challenging at times. New plans in the works are designed to help parents keep better control of their children. Savannah's city manager and police have a brand new action plan to curb juvenile crime.

The plan will affect schools, bars, curfew violators and kids cutting school. They're talking about closing off school campuses, offering training for parents to learn to control their kids, and keeping anyone who is under 21 out of bars.

"Youth crime has emerged as the number one crime problem in 2005," said Chief Dan Flynn of SCMPD.

That statement sums up why the police department and city manager released a new and aggressive plan to help prevent juvenile crime.

The first change you may notice is closing off school campuses. As of right now, campuses are open for students and strangers to come and go as they please.

"We need to secure those campuses keep the non-students off and the students on campus," noted Mayor Otis Johnson.

Savannah-Chatham police now have the right tools to strictly enforce the curfew. Before, when officers picked up kids whose parents weren't home, they had no place to drop off the kids. So who's stuck watching them? The officers, and that means they aren't patrolling the streets. But now a drop-off facility is available.

And speaking of late nights, one of the more controversial new ordinances under consideration is banning anyone under 21 from being in the bars.

The city knows it will be a battle to get this one passed. "No doubt about it," said Mayor Johnson. "I'm ready."

Chief Flynn agrees it's a problem that has to stop. "People tell us all the time, you know chief, you know when kids are in bars they can get alcohol and drink."

The city council will meet with bar owners before they change any ordinances. They plan to vote at the beginning of July.

As for the rest of the plan, city council has spoken to the school board and they agree with the recommendations as well.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com

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