Since our neighborhood group began meeting, one of the most common complaints we receive from our members is juvenile nuisance. In Lansingburgh we have see at all the time, at all hours of the evening and night, groups of kids walking up and down the boulevards and loitering on various streets. True, not every kid is causing an issue, but like anything else in life a few bad apples spoil it for the whole bunch. The last two springs and summers we have experienced a heightened level of petty crimes caused by kids. Most popular among them are vehicular vandalism and break-ins and minor property damage. Why they do these things we’ll never know, but how can we prevent it is more important question.
We have asked for a number of years now why don’t we enforce the curfew law we have on the books as a start to break this habit of kids roaming the streets at all hours of the day and night. In the past we have been given a number of reasons why this wasn’t a feasible. Last month during our regular neighborhood meeting new Chief of Police John Tedesco addressed our group as our guest speaker. Once again the question of curfew came up. Chief Tedesco, without batting an eye, said this law will be enforced. This past weekend the Troy police picked up 20 kids who were in violation of the city’s curfew law in one night. This is a great start. Many of the everyday, petty issues that the residents experience and that frustrate us the most are caused by ill guided minors. I applaud the Chief and the police department of enacting and enforcing this detail as quickly as they did. Across the board I believe we are going to see a big change in the effectiveness of the police department as summer roles on, this is not to say it wasn’t effective in the past because it was. I just think that now the next generation of improvements will be put into place and will have a great and positive impact on the quality-of-life of our neighborhoods.
However, one aspect that I feel is missing is parental accountability. That's why I am glad to learn that the curfew ordinance carries a fine and community services for repeat offenders. The first time a minor is picked up will result in a letter and the violation notice sent to the parents, but each additional offense will result in the parents facing penalties. Starting with the second violation a fine of $100 and 25 hours of community service will be "awarded." The community service will be be performed by a parent and the minor. The fines and community service continue with each violation, but for those who are repeat violators notification will also be sent to the Rensselaer County Department of Social Services or child protective services. I would imagine that for the majority of kids that would be picked up for a curfew violation will never violate again, because I could only imagine what would have happened to me if my parents were called late in the night to pick me up at the police station for doing something I shouldn’t have been doing.
Along the lines of the City’s curfew law, educate yourself and your children so they don’t get picked up for being in violation and you make that take a trip down to the police department to pick them up. The city’s curfew for those under the age of 18 begins at 10:30 pm and ends at 6 am on weekday and Sunday nights and begins at 11:30 pm on Friday and Saturday.
Tonight, Tuesday June 8 beginning at 7pm is our monthly neighborhood watch meeting at the Lansingburgh Boys and Girls Club. If you’d like to join us, our guest speakers this month are Bob Reiter and County Executive Kathy Jimino on hand to discuss benefits available for Veterans who reside in the county. Also, because there have been several questions and concerns as to who receives and dispatches emergency and non-emergency calls (270-4411 and 9-1-1) and how it works, we will have Dir. of Rensselaer County Public Safety Kelly Paslow and Deputy Dir. Mark Balistreri to discuss their service and answer questions.