Answers Differ On Curbing Teen Crowds In Downtown

5:48 AM, Jul 7, 2012   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC --  After police used tear gas to disperse a teenage crowd, some are wondering if a curfew should be put in place in downtown Greensboro.

The night of July 4th, 1,000 teenagers jammed into Greensboro's Center City Park before a fight broke out and police sprayed the crowd with mixture of tear gas and pepper spray to break things up.

On Friday, News 2's Liz Crawford asked downtown business owners, the mayor, and even a teenager if it's time for another curfew.

Many of the business managers told News 2 they don't think it's an isolated downtown Greensboro problem. Teenagers out late at night in the summertime is a society problem.

Melissa Allen, Europa Bar Café manager said, "I think all cities have that problem. There's just no where for them to go. They can't drive, they perhaps can't go to the mall, so they come downtown. There's a lot of activity downtown."

Some other businesses like the restaurants that are open late think stricter regulations over teens would be a good thing, like enforcing a curfew. However, a curfew solution is not supported by everyone including the mayor, citing that the night of July 4th wouldn't have been prevented with an 11pm curfew anyway.

Greensboro Mayor, Robbie Perkins told News 2, "All this happened about 10 and also the curfew only involved those under 18 years of age and of the three people arrested, two were 18 or older."

However another interesting perspective came right from a teenager's mouth. She admits young people use the park to just hang around, even wandering aimlessly or taking pictures. Other than that, they mostly just walk the downtown streets.

17-year-old Naeema Napoleon said, "They don't really have any business being down here pass 11 o'clock. They're not really allowed to go inside bars, they can't drink, so what else are they going to except stay outside and hang out?"

We also asked the Mayor about his thoughts on the police decision to use tear gas the night of July 4th. Mayor Perking said he supports the police decision, especially considering the ratio of 1,000 teens to less than 20 officers.

The city of Greensboro had a teen curfew in 2011. Greensboro police told News 2 that in the one year the curfew was in place, there were only three charges.

WFMY News 2

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