New Windsor streets called quieter in wake of curfew publicity NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

June 17, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

The streets of New Windsor have been quieter at night recently, and there have been fewer vandalism incidents.

According to town officials, the amended curfew ordinance that goes into effect Tuesday is partly responsible for the change.

"I think that the publicity about this issue has made people aware that New Windsor has a curfew and that it will be enforced," said Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr. "We're fortunate that we are not going to have to play catch-up."

The Town Council voted June 2 to change the hours of the current curfew law, which had been in effect for several years but was rarely enforced.

The original ordinance prohibited residents under 18 from being on public streets without a legal guardian between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. throughout the week.

The new curfew begins an hour earlier on Monday through Thursday, but the old 11-to-5 curfew hours still apply on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The change stems from a series of discussions the council had with town residents who complained that New Windsor's young people were responsible for a rash of vandalism in the first few months of the year.

"They [New Windsor government] had the curfew in place before, but until a problem really hits you in the face, you tend to be pretty liberal," said Tfc. Phil Henry, the resident state trooper the town shares with Union Bridge.

Citizens voiced their complaints at council meetings and, most vehemently, at an organizational meeting March 29 for a Community Watch Program, which the town has set up as another crime deterrent.

Since then, town officials and Trooper Henry said, complaints about petty crimes have decreased and there are fewer minors out after dark.

"I'm sure that it [the curfew] has something to do with it," the trooper said. "That and the fact that the parents are paying more attention to their children and helping to eliminate the problems."

The mayor agrees.

"The curfew idea came on line when the town felt there was a serious problem. And now, things have changed," Mr. Gullo said.

"I walked across town Monday after 10 [p.m.] and there was no one out," the mayor said. "All I heard was the sound of my footsteps."

Trooper Henry said he plans to enforce the curfew law with discretion, taking into account the situations that put the children on the street after curfew.

"They know they are supposed to be off the street, but I have to take into account why they are out there," he said.

"I mean, if a kid is coming home from a movie and is outside after the curfew, that's different from a group of kids hanging out on the corner. And that is not going to happen, I can assure you."

Many residents think the new curfew has been in effect since it was discussed at a May council meeting, Mr. Gullo said.

But the town code requires a 45-day waiting period from the day the legislation is introduced -- which was May 5 -- and advertisement of the ordinance before the law can go into effect. Mr. Gullo and Town Attorney Marker J. Lovell have drawn up a notice to be published tomorrow.

"It's a brief summary of the ordinance, but anyone interested in seeing the entire ordinance can check it out at the town hall," Mr. Lovell.

The old curfew hours remain in effect until Tuesday, Mr. Gullo said.

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