Friday, December 12, 2003

Curfew statistics alleviate race fears

Colerain police say racial profiling not factor in policy

By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COLERAIN TWP. - Police aren't targeting juveniles by race with a nighttime juvenile curfew that was instituted over the summer in this western Hamilton County township, police said.

Some residents here worried the curfew would be used as a form of racial profiling.

Sgt. Dan Meloy of the Colerain Township Police Department displayed statistics at a trustees meeting this week to show that wasn't the case.

From July 21 - shortly after the curfew was instituted in Ohio's largest township - until Nov. 27, 104 juveniles were apprehended by police for curfew violations. Of those, 58 were white males, 25 white females, 21 black males and no black females.

"We utilize the curfew as a tool," Meloy said. "It doesn't matter (who) we run into, no matter race or ethnicity. I think we've been very fair in our enforcement of the curfew."

During debate for the curfew, Pastor Donald Jones of the World Faith Harvest Fellowship Church on Pippin Road had expressed concern to trustees that the curfew would be used to target blacks.

The curfew ordinance, which went into effect July 11 after complaints about juvenile crime after dark, makes it illegal for anyone younger than 18 to be in a public place or privately owned business after midnight.

Of the 104 juveniles police nabbed for curfew violations, 20 were arrested. Meloy said the charge of breaking curfew almost always was accompanied by another charge - such as possession of drugs, vandalism or burglary.

The remainder were turned over to their parents.

The most surprising number was that 81 of the 104 curfew violators were Colerain Township residents.

"I would have thought we'd have more coming in from the outside," Meloy said.


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