Proposed Curfew Would Focus On Oxford’s Popular Downtown Square Area

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(Oxford, MS) Oxford Mississippi's Police Chief wants the Board of Aldermen to consider a city-wide curfew for teens 16 and under.

Even though there haven't been any specific problems, Chief Joey East calls the idea a proactive measure aimed at preventing issues at Oxford's most popular gathering spot.

The downtown square in Oxford is a collection of shops, restaurants and pubs.

It's busy day and night.

And according to East, increasingly popular as a late night place for teens to hang out.

"We see a lot of young people who are just there unsupervised, by themselves and that worries us. We know that eventually we're going to have issues."

East wants to discourage youngsters from being around older, alcohol-drinking college students.

He's proposing a curfew requiring people 16 years and younger to be off the streets by 10 p.m. during the week and 11 p.m. on weekends.

"If they're going to a movie or coming home or doing what they should be doing, we're not going to bother them. If they're hanging out in a place that they don't need to be, then absolutely we're going to call the parents."

East said repeat offenders could end up at juvenile court.

The proposed curfew would be city-wide, but focus around Oxford's downtown square.

"Young people tend to go where the activity is. So when they're there around adults and adult type entertainment, there can be problems there."

As expected, the proposed curfew is getting mixed reactions.

Kellie King is a junior at Ole Miss and thinks it's a good idea.

"I feel like giving them the curfew will keep them in a safer environment. Keep them away from everybody that's drinking and everything."

Jodie Offutt recently moved to Oxford and hasn't noticed any problems with underage kids hanging around the downtown square area.

"I've been downtown a few times here and where college kids are and I've seen some that I thought were high school kids. I don't see any people, anybody, misbehaving."

And Darryl Parker believes the curfew can be effective, especially during the school year.

"Most of the kids should probably be home after a certain time anyway. They should be home with their parents, studying, getting ready for school."

The chief said he wants public input on the proposed curfew before it's brought back up for discussion before the Board of Aldermen in a couple of weeks.