by: Ashley Swann Updated:
CONYERS, Ga. - A trouble spot for underage mischief in one community has police cracking down on teen curfew violators.
Conyers police told Channel 2 Action News young people are often dropped off at a shopping plaza off Interstate 20 to eat or go to a movie, and then stay for hours, sometimes up to no good.
Channel 2's Ashley Swann was with police Saturday night as they looked for children 16 and under who were violating the city curfew.
"We've had fights, entering autos, robberies, some of the children are stealing iPhones from other children," said Conyers police Lt. Clay Ivey.
That's why officers are now enforcing a curfew adopted in 2011. If it's past 9:30 p.m. during the week or 11 p.m. on weekends, officers are calling the parents of children 16 and under found wandering around, then slapping those parents with tickets. So far, police have issued 13 citations this month, with five parents ticketed Friday night alone.
"I think it's a great thing," resident Lolita Winston said. "Because it makes them responsible and actually holds them accountable for what their kids are doing, or what they think their kids are doing."
And it's what parents often don't know their kids are up to, police say, that can put them in harm's way.
"The children could become
victims and not necessarily the suspects of a crime," said Ivey. "And we don't want that to occur."
Police said they hope their stepped up patrols and increased awareness of the law will bring peace of mind to business owners and residents alike.
'"If we can prevent crime, then we've done what we need to do," Ivey said.
The penalties for parents are stiff – a maximum of six months in jail and maximum $1,000 fine.