F’ville toughens loitering rule to accompany new teen curfew

Tue, 07/22/2008 - 4:36pm
By: Ben Nelms

Parental responsibility continues to be in the forefront of Fayetteville’s efforts to stem juvenile activities that can run afoul of the law. An upgraded juvenile curfew ordinance adopted in early June was followed at the July 17 City Council meeting with the first reading of an upgraded loitering ordinance aimed at having parents bear the burden of responsibility for the children’s actions.

Police Chief Steve Heaton told the council the impetus for putting parents on the hook for their juvenile’s misdeeds in the current loitering ordinance came at the suggestion of the city attorney after he researched the issue and spoke with other city attorneys.

In its new form, the proposed ordinance concerns activities on business or adjacent private property where loitering is defined as obstructing free passage of persons or vehicles, refusal to leave the property after being asked, disrupting the peace, fleeing if a law enforcement officer arrives, refusing to provide identification or attempting to conceal him/herself or any object.

Specific to minors and as was the case with the upgraded juvenile curfew ordinance, the proposed loitering ordinance says parents will be issued a warning citation on the first offense received by the minor child. Future offenses will result in penalties to be determined in city court.

The upgraded loitering ordinance, if approved, will mesh with the recently upgraded juvenile curfew ordinance that puts significant responsibility on parents.

“There was lots of interest in the juvenile curfew ordinance. Parents were concerned and trying to do their best so there won’t be any problems they’d have to answer for,” Heaton said. “The reason for adding parental responsibility to the loitering ordinance is to be consistent for having parents responsible for their kids not loitering in the city. We have had concerns in the past and we don’t want them in the future.”

Heaton said that while it is too early to draw conclusions about the upgraded curfew ordinance, citation records show that the ordinance that went into effect June 5 seems to be having an impact. Now close to two months later, there have been only two warnings issued for violations.

Fayetteville Police during the previous year issued 32 citations under the state loitering law that had no parental responsibility provision.

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Submitted by PTCBubbleMOMMIE on Wed, 07/23/2008 - 7:40am.

not one bit. kids will just discover opportunities to get in trouble much sooner then their curfew, and get away with it because as the hour approaches, the cops will be more concerned with the loiterers. these kids need an outlet, protected by the cops if need be, where they can DO something. we've closed down staking rinks, we've halted building of movie theaters (and what we do have we don't take care of) and it seems every teen club that comes around gets shut down for some reason or another. these are the same kids we shake our heads and wag our fingers at when they go to college and get in trouble with frat parties, drinking and disorderly. well guess who made them?

we did.

Submitted by skyspy on Wed, 07/23/2008 - 8:02am.

"these kids need an outlet protected by the cops"???? Did you really just type that??

These teens need parents, which seem to be in short supply in Fayette County. First of all the teen centers were closed down because of underage drinking and drugs.

The sad thing is especially in PTC the teens are just reproductions of and a direct reflection of their parents. Ill mannered, self-centered, destructive, foul mouthed little brats. They think that they have the right to do whatever they want and that the laws and ordinances are for the "little people". The coyotes in the nature preserve behind my house behave better than the kids here.

Of all the places I have ever lived we have the most incompetent parents I have ever seen. They have completely abdicated their authority as parents. They think everyone else but them is responsible for their out of control brats.

Guess who made them? Here is a newsflash for you and every other careless low class irresponsible parent out there. No one else is responsible for your carlessness with birthcontrol. You had a kid, it is your job to raise it. Do your job.!

Submitted by Spyglass on Wed, 07/23/2008 - 10:34am.

I have at least 5-6 PTC TEENS at my house most weekends. They do everything from play video games, go swimming in the pool, to help me pick up sticks etc. In return I cook them some hot dogs and hamburgers. Not ONCE have I had one of them be disrespectful. They seem to be good kids all around. Good students, etc. These are kids from both Starrs Mill and McIntosh (where my Son will be Junior).

It's obvious we disagree about the state of kids in this area.

Submitted by skyspy on Wed, 07/23/2008 - 10:40am.

I'm sure they are well behaved in your presence.

Not bitter about all kids, just the ones who have been taught to be ill mannered and destructive. When their parents let them get away with bad behavior, they have been taught that it is ok.

Submitted by Spyglass on Wed, 07/23/2008 - 2:49pm.

I figure the more time they are around someone watching them, the less likely they are to be in trouble. I know I was far from perfect when I was a "yute", but I never resorted to graffiti, trashing things, etc. I figure I can show them how to have a good time without resorting to tearing up other people's property.

Submitted by skyspy on Wed, 07/23/2008 - 3:25pm.

Thanks for being a good parent. I know there are a few of you out there. Git Real and bad_ptc also talk about how they have set up their homes so that the kids will hang out there.

Good job!

I just thought it was a silly notion to think that the cops and the community at large should babysit peoples teens. The usual excuse is that there is nothing for kids to do here. Which is pure bunk. There are so many activities for kids to choose from they can't decide which one to pick. The only thing we don't have available for them here is rock climbing, bungee jumping, horseback riding, and robot camp like they have at GA Tech.

Anyway, good job you for stepping up to the plate.

Submitted by Bonkers on Wed, 07/23/2008 - 4:18pm.

If some kids want to meet, say Friday night, for a get together, just where now do they do that? They have nothing specific in mind...no swiming, no basketball, no restaurant!

Submitted by Hey on Wed, 07/23/2008 - 10:08am.

Sky, I agree that parents need to do their jobs when it comes to parenting, but after a certain age these kids don't care to sit around all weekend playing board games with mom and dad. They prefer to be doing things with their friends and there are not a lot of places for them to do that around here.
If we do try to give them something, it is overtaken by the sorry people who ruin it for everyone.
Just don't be so hard on PTCbubbleMommie, you don't know what her kids are like.

Submitted by PTCBubbleMOMMIE on Wed, 07/23/2008 - 12:33pm.

My kids are just fine, as are a good bit of them in this town. I'm just saying that we need a venue where they can hang out and it can be closely watched by members of the police department - off duty or on. That's easier than trying to sit here and whine and complain about how parents aren't raising them right. the parents are going to still raise them crappy and they are still going to act out. might as well have something for them to burn that energy on. We have managed to close everything so far that the kids like to do, and now we see ridiculous stories about the city financing expensive ventures for other people. Why not invest in something here for the kids that is inexpensive and fun?

Submitted by letsgetreal on Tue, 07/22/2008 - 10:28pm.

Ok- I understand why Fayetteville is “cracking down” on loitering…I really do, however, there needs to be a line. When a good group of kids, and I mean a working, honest, non-drug doing group of 18-20yr kids (adults) are sitting up at the local Starbucks 38 minutes after they close like they have been doing the entire summer gets tickets for “loitering” it just doesn’t seem right. I was cited for “loitering” at Starbucks. Please hear me out before you jump to conclusions. A group of 8 people including myself were sitting/standing out by our cars like we always do when Starbucks closes the patio. A Fayetteville city police pulled up. He asked us if we were aware of the fact that Starbucks was closed. We said we did know it was closed but we do this every night. He took up 7 IDs. I spoke up and tried to explain to him that we had permission to be there. He responded by asking me if I was a lawyer and I said no sir….he abruptly told me to shut my mouth aaaand I did. After 2 hours of us sitting in the Starbucks parking lot 7 out of the 8 people received a citation for “loitering”. I have never gotten into trouble with the law… heck I never even when to the principal’s office! I had NO idea what we were doing was illegal. Honestly! I tried to talk to the police officer, but all he had to say was “that is what court is for” or “I’m NOT here to argue with you!” When the employees close down the outdoor patio we move to the parking lot because there is NO where else for us to go in this town. We have chairs in our cars and it’s just what we have gotten accustom to doing on a nightly basis. Where we went wrong?! After doing MUCH research on the code we got cited for (62-7) and talking to an undercover police officer, a resource officer, and a judge I still do NOT understand what we did wrong.

Sec. 62-7. Loitering.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to be in any public place or business where the person's presence is unrelated to the normal activity, use or business conducted at the premises or place, and said person commits one of the following acts:
(1) Said person is hindering or obstructing unreasonably the free passage of pedestrians or vehicular traffic; or
(2) Said person refuses to leave the premises or place after being asked to leave by the owner of the premises, the authorized agent of the owner, or a law enforcement officer; or
(3) Said person is involved in conduct which unreasonably disrupts the repose or peace of persons acting lawfully; or
(4) Said person is involved in conduct causing the obstruction, molestation, or interference with persons so as to cause them to reasonably fear for their safety.
(b) Near business establishments. It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to congregate or loiter on any private property which is adjacent to or used by any business or commercial establishment in the city for the use of said business establishment or its customers for parking of vehicles or other uses incidental to the operation of said business.
(c) Congregating on sidewalks or streets. It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to obstruct the sidewalks or streets of the city, or sidewalks or drives within private property which is open to the public, by standing, sitting, or laying in crowds.
(Ord. No. 0-28-92, § 17-8, 11-2-92)

I have read and analyzed this statement which is NOT easy to find and none of it applies to us. We have a written and signed statement signed by Starbucks saying we have permission to be on the property after they close. The officer NEVER gave us the chance to leave (warning)…let a lone to even SPEAK! All I have to say is if any of us knew what we were doing was against any law we simply would not have done it. It would be different if we never purchased something from Starbucks…but we do. ---Frustrated---

Submitted by citizenal on Wed, 07/23/2008 - 7:57am.

Dear "letsgetreal" - welcome to the 21st century, youngun. I am sad to say that our generation is falling for the lie that laws can fix all our problems when only responsible people taking responsibility to act responsibility can do that. Public spaces should not be closed to people enjoying each others company - unless they do something wrong (ie paint graffiti or break windows). We have lost sight of the Constitution and give our liberty away to lawmakers and police in exchange for what we think is safety when it really is bondage.

By the way, did you get that policeman's name? File a complaint against him. He should always talk with respect. My children have encountered such disrespectful talk from PTC police who seem to think every young person a punk that needs 'hard talk' to hear. This is a bad assumption that needs to be changed.

Remember Sir Edmond Burke "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to remain silent". Keep speaking up.

Submitted by letsgetreal on Wed, 07/23/2008 - 10:58am.

Citizenal- Trust me we did get his name and we are going to file complaints against him. I agree that young people do tend to fall under a negative image, but there are a few good ones left! This truly is one of those cases where good people fell under a stereotype.

Everyone it talking about taking responsibility for your own kids, but you have to keep in mind there is this HUGE thing called pure pressure!!! It takes a very strong-willed individual to rise above what is going on "in the streets" I just wish that parents would start taking a look at the bigger picture when their children are younger. I feel violence, manners, and respect all stem from when children are very young (ie. 5-10) The tv shows, video games, and movies that are being produced for kids in that age bracket are effecting them one way or another. I could go on and on about what I feel is wrong with todays society, but I don't have the time... Parents get the picture- you have one real chance to have your kids turn out right---Don' mess it up!

mother hen's picture
Submitted by mother hen on Wed, 07/23/2008 - 11:37am.

I'm glad you got his name. I'm sure some of these officers have had bad experiences with teens in the past, but it's not right to jump to those conclusions about every teen they encounter, particularly when that teen isn't doing anything destructive.

On to my tirade about parents! Yes, peer pressure is a difficult thing to contend with, but raising a kid with good self-esteem will help. And, news flash! Interfering with your child's natural growth experiences doesn't help your child! Kids should experience conflict - those playground dust-ups teach them something. If your mom comes running outside to save the day every time there's a disagreement between kids in the neighborhood, how will you ever learn to negotiate and resolve problems? If your parents blame the teacher every time you get a bad grade, or worse, if their first instinct is to believe the child instead of the teacher if there's an issue at school, how will your kid learn to accept criticism and change his behavior? If "everybody is a winner!" then how will your kids ever learn that not everyone is the same, some people are better than others at certain tasks/skills? We can't all be #1, and Mom and Dad won't be able to come to work with you and make your boss be nice. They'll be able to console you at home, though, since you'll probably still be living with them...

Someone (might be Neal Boortz) talks about the wussification of America. This is how it's done.

I like to think I'm a good parent, but I've been told by my kids as well as other parents that we're stricter than most parents are. My kids are expected to use last names when talking with adults (no "Miss Jane" or "Mr. Bill"). They are responsible for the behavior of their friends when their friends are in our home. They are expected to follow the rules at their friends' homes, and know they will be punished for any infractions. They understand that their behavior is a reflection on our family. Being present while other kids are acting like morons (vandalism, demeaning/harrassing other kids, throwing Dum-Dums) and not speaking up to say it's wrong is just as bad as participating in the moronic behavior. I'm not afraid to be held accountable for my children's behavior - as their mother, I'm at least partially responsible for it. That may bite me in the rear one day, but if it does, shame on me.

Submitted by Sick of Fascists on Tue, 07/22/2008 - 10:13pm.

Seems to me that we ALL did that as kids. Whether or not we had done anything wrong. Don't really see how anybody's parent could be held accountable for every moment of a teenager's behavior. I follow holding one accountable for curfew violations, but loitering? Strikes me as a bit iffy.

Submitted by depdawg on Tue, 07/22/2008 - 7:16pm.

This has been a long time coming, and most def. for the better. It is not very rare to see groups of kids walking northbound on GA85 at 0200 on Saturday morning. When you stop them and question them they were dropped off by their moms at the dollar theater and told to walk home.

Maybe issuing a few of these citations will make parents think twice about the good ole $1 babysitter, AKA the dollar theater. This isn't just a problem with kids north of Fayette County either, it also is a problem with the Fayette kids also. Take note parents, you will finally be responsible for your childs actions, OMG!!!

Submitted by citizenal on Wed, 07/23/2008 - 8:03am.

There is a problem but this is not the answer. You invite a police state upon your head. Police were not trained to be baby sitters. They were trained to fight crime. Being out at night minding your own business is not a crime. Look what happened to writer 'letsgetreal'. We may all agree that it can likely lead to crime but it is not yet a crime. When you start punishing people for being in a posture that 'could' lead to crime you are on dangerous ground. Kinda like Russia or China.

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