Politics

Louisiana Town Imposes an Overnight Curfew on All Its Citizens

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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If you live in Clinton, La., you better be home by 11 p.m. If you are an early riser, too bad, because you can’t leave your house until 6 a.m.

Clinton Police Chief Fred Dunn claims he knows everyone in Clinton, and he wants them at home during the hours when most crime occurs.

“The reason why I did the curfews is because of the businesses and homeowners,” said the 13-year police veteran. “My citizens have been telling me that when they go home, they don’t feel safe.”

With about 1,640 residents, Clinton sits 35 miles north of Baton Rouge in East Feliciana Parish.

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Enforcement of the curfew began on May 30. Dunn said he likes it because when he saw two men loitering on the streets after curfew several days ago, he could tell them to move along. Dunn claims those same men committed a robbery in a town 18 miles away that same night.

Residents do not appear to be quite as happy as Dunn. WFAB reported that the curfew was hotly contested at a town meeting this week.

Long-time Clinton resident, Raven Davis, told WFAB he is all for the curfew but worries about innocent, law-abiding citizens being targeted, too.

"Like I said they have a job to do but you have to take into consideration the people too, the ones that are doing right," Davis said.

The curfew came up in the regular Board of Alderman meeting where one resident wanted to know, “Exactly what problem are we trying to solve by implementing a curfew?”

"Driving, walking or gathering together does not constitute criminal behavior," said another.

Dunn defended the ordinance, saying the overnight curfew will stop crime.

"As long as I'm chief of police and I have the support of these Aldermen and the Mayor, I'm going to do whatever I have to do to protect you, Ms. Flowers, Mr. Beachum, Mr. Davis, anybody," Dunn said.

"We'll have to adjust to it and see how it plays out but as I said I'm all for it," Davis said.

While the curfew still stands, Alderman Clovis Matthews said the town might revisit the issue when school begns in the fall.

Source: NBC News, WFAB