New juvenile curfew for St. Martinville goes into effect this month

St. Martin Parish

ST. MARTINVILLE, La.(KLFY) — St. Martinville is trying to get ahead of juvenile crime with a new curfew going into effect starting July 1.

The revised curfew starts at 9 p.m. and ends at 6 a.m. for children 17 and under. On weekends, it starts one hour later at 10 p.m.

News Ten’s Neale Zeringue spoke to Chief of Police Ricky Martin and has reactions from St. Martinville residents.

Nine at night curfew may sound early to some, but many people in town said that in St. Martinville, the only thing a kid can do once the sun goes down is to get in trouble.

“We probably have one of the earliest curfews around here now,” Chief Martin said. “I think that’s what raised an eyebrow of some people.”

The newly revised curfew requires juveniles to stay home two hours longer on weeknights and two and a half hours longer on weekends than before. Chief Ricky Martin said with school out, and violent teen crime across Acadiana, it’s something many departments are looking into.

“Opelousas and a couple of other agencies have reached out to us asking for our ordinance, so apparently we are all having the same issues,” Martin explained.

Phyllis Jones, who lives in St. Martinville said, “This is happening all over, and something needs to stop.”

Jones said she knows what unaccounted-for youth can lead to. “Breaking into the house, tampering after the cars, killing people, drive-by shooting,” she told News 10.

Jones and her neighbors agree the curfew’s success depends on parent cooperation.

“They need the parents to look more into it to help their children,” she said.

“The parents will know what their kids are doing more by not letting them out all night”, Rammie Melancon, who also lives in St. Martinville, added.

Residents said they realize this won’t stop every crime in the town, but they said that it’s at least closing a door and not leaving it as wide open as it was before. Police know not everyone agrees with the curfew, and Chief Martin’s response is simple.

“If I’ve got to make one person unhappy to make the other person safe, I’ll deal with that all day long because the person that is unhappy is going to eventually realize that we did what we did to keep somebody else safe,” he concluded.

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