Mayor Jennifer Vidrine said the police department is closely monitoring the city’s crime rate. Since last month’s meeting, when the public expressed strong sentiment in favor of the walking curfew for people of all ages, the crime rate has been steady, the mayor said.
Vidrine said if crime increases, “I will instantly and immediately,” enact the curfew.
The ordinance also requires the public to walk, at any time, on sidewalks and if sidewalks don’t exist, people should walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
The ordinance also requires people walking at night to wear reflective outer garments such as arm bands or parkas.
“We are trying to prevent the public from running over people,” Mayor Vidrine said. When asked by Councilman Taranza Arvie if local merchants had donated reflective armbands or other outer garments as requested, the mayor said no.
The mayor said the new ordinance does not affect a curfew already on the books restricting people 17 and under from being outdoors at night. She said people who see anyone of that age outside between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. should call the police.
The walking curfew affecting people of all ages was suspended last month due to a threatened lawsuit by the ACLU. However, nearly 30 people spoke in favor of the walking curfew, drawing applause from residents attending the October meeting, and only one person spoke in opposition to the walking curfew.
“We have not given up on the curfew,” Mayor Vidrine said during the November 8 meeting. “The curfew is not off the book.”