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Paterson, New Jersey, Considers Curfews for Adults

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posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 11:00 AM
PATERSON, N.J. — Curfews might not be just for kids anymore in one northern New Jersey city.

Seeking to curb violence after a spate of deadly summer shootings, Paterson officials are considering an unusual ordinance that would prevent people of all ages from gathering outside in public late at night.

The measure could be the nation's first citywide, non-emergency curfew to include adults, several experts said.

"We're trying to think outside the box," said Mayor Jose Torres. "This was triggered predominantly by fear among city residents over the shootings that have been occurring this summer."

A 29-year-old Paterson man was gunned down in his car last week in the latest chapter of a tit-for-tat battle between rival groups, according to police who decline to describe them as gangs. The battle has generated community fear, even though overall shootings and violence remain low by historical standards.

Paterson, New Jersey's third-largest city at 147,000 people, has had six homicides and 30 shootings this year, according to city data. That compares with 13 homicides and 37 shootings for the same period of 2008.

The curfew would last for two months and bar people from loitering outside from midnight to 7 a.m. Violators would face up to a $2,000 fine and 90 days in jail. It would not apply to people in transit.

The measure was initially scheduled for consideration by the City Council on Monday, then Tuesday, and is now slated for Sept. 1. If the measure is approved, a second vote and a public hearing would still be needed before it goes into effect.
Legal challenges are a possibility, and Torres attributed the voting delays to the need to word the ordinance just right.

The American Civil Liberties Union has already successfully defeated several juvenile curfews in New Jersey courts, said Ed Barocas, legal director of the state ACLU. Adult curfews are usually associated with the imposition of martial law, which typically is restricted to emergencies, wartime or military occupation, according to the ACLU.

"An adult curfew is unprecedented in our state," Barocas said.

"It's just completely unheard of," said Jon Shane, a professor of policing administration at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. "Not to mention being generally unconstitutional."

As unpalatable as the measure is among legal scholars, some Paterson residents are willing to consider anything that diminishes the violence.

Mohamed El Filali, a 44-year-old Paterson resident, said he fears the proposal will only drive illegal activity indoors.

"If it curtails crime I don't have an issue with it," said El Filali, outreach director for the Islamic Center of Passaic County. "It's a bold and ambitious gesture."

DaShaun "Jiwe" Morris, who describes himself as an inactive member of the Bloods street gang, said the ordinance is problematic because it clearly targets illegal gang activity and depends on the ability of police to distinguish between gang members and neighborhood residents sporting the same hairstyles and fashions.

"They're going to get a lot of the wrong people," said the 28-year-old Morris, who lives in nearby Newark. "It's an invitation to racial profiling."

New Orleans, New York City and Jersey City are among cities that have previously imposed curfews in designated areas, such as parks, but those bans were not ults-new-je_n_262526.html
AP news researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.

posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 11:34 AM
Okay so if I'm reading this right, there are actually less homicides and murders for this same time period compared to last year, but they want to enact a curfew.

They have a gang problem and their officers are not equipped to deal with the problem. So lets ban everybody from congregating outside during a certain time.

posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 12:24 PM
I grew up in Paterson and while admitedly the place was no crown jewel it has improved markedly since I was there. I had four members of my family who are or were in law enforcement in Paterson and the drug and gang problem is not nearly where it was in the late 80's early 90's. I am not quite sure I understand this ban and I certainly do not think it is a very good idea.

[edit on 19-8-2009 by AugustusMasonicus]

posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 12:28 PM
Throw up a video cam real or fake. I'm really not sure efforts to lesson crime should be based on last years' street killing rates to this years.
Seems to me a problem crime area being isolated and curfew-ed may be a good thing for the locals anyway.

I come from a place where it's still safe to go for a walk at night, suppose I'm lucky.


posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 12:35 PM

Originally posted by Hastobemoretolife
They have a gang problem and their officers are not equipped to deal with the problem. So lets ban everybody from congregating outside during a certain time.

Nothing makes for an atmosphere of safety like the complete absence of witnesses on the streets.

posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 01:17 PM
Just when some people couldn't get any dumber. Someone goes and does it. Yet another reason city officials should not be trusted. I say let them stay on the streets at night and see how they like it. Maybe some common sense laws will be passed. I won't hold my breath waiting.

posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 01:32 PM
This is a terrible idea. Unconstitutional, and there is way too much potential room for abuse. It sounds like the police could see somebody who is not indoors at the time, and then slap them with a nice fine if they felt like it, whether they were actually in transit or loitering. I don't like it, but, I'm not from around there. So, I don't know what the citizens actually think about it. But if this was ever proposed in my town, I'd fight it with every ounce of strength that I have

posted on Aug, 20 2009 @ 03:27 PM
next you will have a lights out time in your own home with friendly neighborhood feds to tuck you in if you don't comply. wheres my tinfoil hat?

posted on Aug, 20 2009 @ 08:51 PM
Some people now considering this to be marshal law.

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