New curfew finds support in Broad Ripple

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The city may soon have a new tool to help curb teen violence. It involves moving the curfew up two hours from 1:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. seven days a week for everyone 17 years old and younger.

The City-County Council's Rules and Public Policy committee is holding a public hearing on the proposal tonight. It begins at 5:30 at the Center for Leadership at 2425 W Dr Martin Luther King Jr Street in Indianapolis.

Republican councilor Jeff Miller, who's behind the change, said, "We've found when a group of teens, in particular, are out late looking for something to do, are bored - bad things happen."

While the new curfew comes primarily in response to teen violence in the downtown area the past two summers, the ordinance would be countywide.

Russell Record, who owns the Alley Cat Lounge in Broad Ripple, said he likes the idea of bumping up the curfew.

Record said, "Whether it's 11:00 p.m. or midnight on any given night, there's no reason for them to be here."

Record recalls the problems they had in Broad Ripple two years ago. Police beefed up nighttime patrols along the bar strip after large groups of teens began hanging out and stirring up trouble.

"They don't need to be loitering on the streets," he said. "There's a large enough crowd here already, especially on weekends, and you add that mix together - especially when they're not legal - and it really puts a lot of pressure on police and on us, and just the patrons who walk up and down the street."

Adam Wright, who worked as a bouncer in Broad Ripple, agreed.

"Anything a kid could do [in Broad Ripple] shuts down at 10:00 p.m., so giving the cops another tool to crack down and say to them, 'Hey, go home now or we'll do this' is definitely better than the alternative of letting them roam."

Wright said there are other reasons a curfew makes sense for those 17 and under.

"From a business standpoint, you've got minors trying to get in bars all night and that's definitely not safe if they do get past the door guys," he said.

Alexis Wingert, who works at a hookah bar in Broad Ripple, also backs a stricter curfew.

Wingert said, "I mean 11:00 is prime time to get those kids out of here, because that's when everyone's been drinking and by 11:00, it's all gone crazy."

She said it's not just about keeping teens out of trouble, but keeping them safe from fights, intoxicated people and those intending to do harm.

"I wouldn't walk around Broad Ripple without a group after 11:00, much less having kids do so when they don't know what they're getting into....It's crazy."

Miller said the council committee would hold at least one public hearing before voting on the curfew and deciding whether to send it to the full council. He would like to have it in place in time for summer.