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Home  |  News  |  Police: Teens cooperating with Five Points curfew

Police: Teens cooperating with Five Points curfew
Thursday, July 7, 2011


COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It has been more than a week since a curfew went into effect in Columbia's Five Points, and it seems to be working so far.

The curfew has been in place for about nine days, and so far there have been no signs of any problems. Columbia police think teenagers or their parents -- or both -- have gotten the message that there are times when kids have no business being in Five Points.

Warnings posted throughout Five Points tell patrons the shopping and bar district is generally off-limits to those under age 17 at certain hours. The 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew went into effect July 28, as city officials reacted with unusual swiftness following the beating of Carter Strange. "This is about safety," Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott said. "It is about safety of our patrons, safety of our community and safety of our young people."

Police had already stepped up patrols around Five Points back in January. After Strange was assaulted by a group of teenagers last month, the department also dispatched its PACE team.

"The PACE team responds to specific problems as a specialized unit," said Assistant Chief Les Wiser. "And we've had them concentrate in large measure in Five Points. And that provides us with people that are familiar with the crime problems, familiar with the people they see night after night."

The curfew now allows police to challenge visitors who might be underage. "We pretty much just walk up to them and say 'can I see some ID or can you tell me how old you are?'" said Wiser. "Everyone's been compliant and very nice. It's worked out pretty well so far."

The curfew ordinance expires near the end of August. The city will have to decide whether it needs to be extended or made permanent. "Of course, that's up to the council," said Wiser. "But we'll support whatever the council and the folks here in Columbia want us to do."

Columbia police are also maintaining their presence in five points to enforce the city's new 2:00 a.m. bar closing ordinance. About a dozen bars have taken steps including getting permits to stay open past two, but Chief Wiser says with a couple of exceptions, the department is seeing good compliance with that law as well.

Source: http://www.wistv.com/story/15036592/police-five-points-curfew-going-smoothyl

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