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Atlanta teen curfew | City officials consider another proposal

Atlanta Councilmember Keisha Waites said the new proposal would focus on a citywide curfew for unsupervised teens ages 16 and under.

ATLANTA — Atlanta city leaders are considering a revised curfew proposal for teens in light of the recent crime and violence. The move comes after a previous attempt to implement a 7 p.m. curfew for kids under 17 years old failed to gain enough support.

“Eight o’clock seems to be the magic number and to extend it on the weekends to 9 p.m. giving that we have daylight saving time until 9 p.m.,” said Atlanta Councilmember Keisha Waites, who proposed the measure.  

Waites adds the new proposal would focus on a citywide curfew for unsupervised teens ages 16 and under to help curb violence involving young people.  

“Its intent is to stop these large gatherings, places where young people tend to gather unsupervised. And, if you recall at Atlantic station, we had 3-400 young people unsupervised where things went awry,” Waites said.

That night on Nov. 26, there was a shooting near the 17th St. bridge. 12-year-old Zyion Charles and 15-year-old Cameron Jackson were both shot and killed.

"Zyion and Cameron, they are depending on us to do something different. Drastic times call for drastic measures," Waites said.

However, critics said the previous proposal unfairly penalized people for the bad actions of a small few. Community advocate Duwon Robinson feels a curfew is necessary to address crime affecting kids.

“There's a lot of residents that are not pleased with a curfew because they feel that their teens are out here breaking into cars stealing, shooting, causing violence, and I understand that," Robinson said. "But, we can’t have it without the other. So I’m all for it because too many youths have guns and by 8 o’clock it’s pitch black dark."

Waites said they’ve adjusted the proposal to gain support.  

"It has exceptions in it for individuals who are going to work, it has an exception for school in athletic activities. It has an exception for individuals who are emancipated young people, and for unsheltered teens," she said. 

The measure is not a done deal because it still has to pass the full council. Then, pass the public safety committee once more. If it passes both, the proposal would still have to go back to the full council.

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