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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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Oregon voters will consider a proposed curfew for minors that will be on the ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Members of block watch groups promoted the curfew at Safety Committee meetings earlier this year, but city council on March 21 voted 5-2 against the measure.

At the time, city officials announced plans to beef up road patrols in areas where block watch groups have complained about juvenile crime and to post signs that restrict attendance at some parks.

But proponents of the curfew circulated petitions to get it on the ballot so voters could decide.

The curfew would restrict youths younger than 18-years-old from being out between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m.

Lori Render, a member of block watch who helped circulate petitions in support of a curfew, said she’s confident the measure will pass.

“When I was circulating the petitions, support was over 50 percent,” she told The Press last week. “They thought a curfew was needed.”

Render said the ballot language left out the time when the curfew would be enforced, something people were interested in when she circulated petitions.

“I think they could have included that on the ballot,” she said.

Deter crime
Render and other proponents of the curfew hope it will deter such crimes as loitering, ransacking vehicles, theft, fighting, vandalism, trespassing, littering, congregating on street corners, parks and yards, egging vehicles and houses, and toilet papering. Areas that are having issues include neighborhoods off Starr, Navarre, Woodville, Wheeling, Pickle and Coy.

Render said neighborhoods are reluctant to put up Halloween and Christmas decorations outside because many are stolen. “That’s one of the biggest things we see,” she said.

The proposed curfew has the support of Oregon’s police unions.

“Both the Oregon F.O.P. Command Officer’s Union and the Oregon Police Patrolman’s Association are in favor of a juvenile curfew for the City of Oregon,” states a letter signed by Ken Reno, president of the F.O.P. Command Officer’s Union, and Mike O’Connor, president of the Oregon Police Patrolman’s Association. “We believe that this would be an effective tool for officers in dealing with delinquent juveniles. It is our belief that passage of this type of legislation would result in a reduction in property crimes, specifically theft and criminal damaging offenses.”

Crime rising
In 2012, there were 182 juvenile arrests in Oregon. That number dipped to 126 in 2013, then rose to 171 in 2014.

Surrounding communities that have a curfew for minors include Northwood, Toledo, Genoa, Pemberville, Walbridge, Rossford, Port Clinton and Sandusky.

At the March 21 council meeting, council members Sandy Bihn and Kathy Pollauf voted in favor of the curfew, while Steve Hornyak, James Seaman, Dennis Walendzak, Tim Zale, and Terry Reeves voted against it.

Hornyak at the time of the vote questioned whether a curfew would change the behavior of juvenile delinquents, saying it is the responsibility of parents to supervise their children.

Mayor Mike Seferian, also opposed to a curfew, expressed doubts it would deter juvenile crime.

Councilwoman Bihn called the curfew measure “unique” because block watch members decided to circumvent the action of council and take it to voters to decide.

“I don’t remember in my time ever having a citizen petition that went on the ballot, ever. It’s quite unique,” Bihn told The Press last week. “They did a lot of work to get the number of signatures required on the petitions to put it on the ballot.”

She spent several months at block watch meetings supporting their call for a curfew.

“It’s another tool in the tool chest of the police department to help keep our neighborhoods safe,” she said. “It will send out a warning to youth to be off the streets at night. I think it will make for a safer community.”

 

 

age

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