St. Paul adopts new curfews, response program - New York News

St. Paul adopts new curfews, response program

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Teen violence is a pressing issue in some communities, and St. Paul is trying a new tactic to keep kids out of trouble now that schools will soon be out for summer vacation.

A recent survey by St. Paul police found that 70 percent of the people who live on the city's east side don't feel safe after dark, and that's got leaders setting out to try a new approach to curbing teenage crime.

"They broke my little lion over there and they were kicking my pots," recalled Nina Henry.

Henry loves getting out of the house when the weather is warm, but after about 50 teens vandalized cars and homes in her neighborhood a few weeks ago, she's worried it will be a long, hot summer.

"Sometimes they are messing around, fighting and screaming," she told FOX 9 News. "They get all crazy. They don't care what they are doing after hours."

Now that many teens are preparing to embark on their summer break, the city wants to make sure they don't use that time off for causing trouble. So, they are going to try to make sure that teens aged 15 and under will be off the streets by 10 p.m., while 16- and 17-yearolds will have until midnight to get home.

Police and prosecutors are also teaming up to create a pilot program called "We All Care" to get teens and their families to make better choices. That means that if a teen is brought to the curfew center, their family will get a visit from St. Paul Youth Services the next day.

Families will also be encouraged to take part in a pre-court diversion program, so that offenders can be offered a chance to do community service in exchange for wiping the violation from their records.

The Ramsey County Curfew Center opened last month, and 109 teens have been brought in so far. According to St. Paul Youth Services, 95 percent of the kids who have taken part in their diversion program have stayed out of trouble afterward for at least six months.

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