An Iowa City woman is calling on the city council to do something to put an end to recent violence in her neighborhood. Lorraine Bailey says a curfew would help cut down on the growing number of crimes committed by teens. She remembers when Iowa City had a curfew in place around 50 years ago.
"And (my kids) were threatened by the curfew and they knew mom was going to go get them if they weren’t in by the curfew," Bailey said. Recently, Bailey wrote a letter to city council members, including her daughter Mayor Regenia Bailey, asking them to impose a curfew on juveniles.
"I felt that there was something that needed to be done," Bailey said. "We’ve had different things occur in this area." A Mother’s Day brawl that happened just blocks from Bailey’s home involved dozens of teens who turned to bats, knives and guns to resolve a neighborhood feud. Then, a couple of weeks ago, a late night shooting just around the corner from Bailey’s home scared several people.
Iowa City Police Chief Sam Hargadine agrees that teens are causing problems in town. "Making noise (and) racket, being out at late hours of the night," Hargadine said. The adjacent city of Coralville adopted a curfew several decades ago and Hargadine believes Iowa City should do the same to "stop teenage mischief before it starts." Bailey says the curfew idea is directed at parents as much as their teenage children.
"It’s time we go back to making parents responsible to have their children at home and if it entails a curfew, then that’s the route we need to go," Bailey said. The Iowa City city attorney is working to draft a new curfew ordinance and delinquent behavior ordinance that will be presented to the city council for review.