New curfew suggested after Roanoke Police report 2022 had one more shooting than 2021

Published: Jan. 7, 2023 at 6:44 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - This past week, Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea gave the city council a new plan of action to fight gun and teen violence. WDBJ7 talked to Lea, Vice Mayor Joe Cobb and Roanoke City Police Chief Sam Roman about the possibility of a new curfew.

“The gun violence seems not to decrease but increasing to a level,” said Lea.

According to police, there were 68 shootings in 2022, one more than in 2021.

“People are saying we’re talking a lot and saying some things,” added Lea. “Meaning let’s put some things together.”

Mayor Lea visited the teens police say were injured in a shooting on New Year’s Eve.

“What more do you need to make you, or to encourage you, to move on something? To see a young person, a young child, sitting there fighting for his life ‘cause of a senseless a senseless act,” explained Lea.

Lea introduced an outline during the first city council meeting to address gun and teen violence. The first proposal is the implementation of a curfew that could start as early as 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. Currently, there is a curfew at 11 p.m.

Councilman Joe Cobb says it’s a possible option.

“How often is this occurring? Do we have a large number of youths that are out past hours they should be? What’s contributing to that? Do they have instability at home?” said Cobb.

Chief Sam Roman says staffing is an ongoing issue. But just the other night two officers took teens after violating the current curfew.

“Now our officers are probably better suited and better used if they were in a high crime area doing something to deter crime, instead of taking 14-and 15-year-olds home. But certainly, that falls in the realm of what law enforcement does,” said Roman.

Officials say parents should also take responsibility.

“We may need to consider bringing the parents in and citing the parents if these kids are continuously violating that,” said Lea.

Lea says the city council is planning a public hearing to receive community input about the curfew.

These are the full recommendations:

1. Implementation of a Teen Curfew.

2. Increase the use of Reward money offering with increased frequency and dollar amounts to break the “No Stitching” Rule in the community.

3. Increase lighting and or increase the intensity of lighting of neighborhoods that have been prone to gun violence in Partnership AEP.

4. Establish Council Lead “Neighborhood Single Family Forums” on Saturdays/Sundays throughout NW & Se with single-family households.