City looks to discourage panhandlers, tighten curfew

KTRK-13's Jeff Ehling reports that the city is considering tightening the curfew ordinance:

Currently in the city of Houston, if you are 17 years of age, you can stay out until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. But that curfew is likely to change soon. That means if you are 16 or younger, you'll have to go home a lot earlier.

Houston city councilman Adrian Garcia went to students, looking for input on the potential changes.

He said, "Probably what we would get the most bang for the buck, if you will, is doing it 10pm across the board, 365 days a year."

The new curfew rules would affect anyone under 17 years of age. Houston police say the current midnight curfew on Friday and Saturday nights must be toughened. Officers say so far this year they've arrested 2,500 juveniles committing crimes in Houston between the hours of 10pm and 11pm.

HPD Assistant Chief Michael Thaler explained, "They may be involved in thefts, assaultive behavior or other behaviors like that. But the 10:00 to 11:00 hour is important, in that we want to make sure that juveniles do not become victims of crimes."

[snip]

There would be some exceptions to the proposed curfew change -- anyone coming home from work, anyone coming home from a church or civic function, or anyone coming home from a school event like a football game. In addition, anyone with their parents would be allowed on the streets after 10pm.

Also, KHOU-11's Doug Miller reports that Mayor White is planning a big advertising campaign to discourage Houstonians from giving money to panhandlers and street beggars:

[T]he mayorís sending out fundraising letters stating, ďI write to request your financial support for a campaign urging Houstonians to refrain from giving money to panhandlers or street solicitors...Ē

Mayor Bill White said the idea is easy, ďDonít fight the impulse to give. But donít give to people who are out there begging on the streets. We donít know what happens to all that money. We know that a lot of it doesnít fight the root causes of homelessness. Plus itís an annoyance.Ē

[snip]

White plans to launch a broadcast campaign similar to his commercials advising consumers to shop around for electricity.

But instead of TV commercials, drivers listening to their radios will be targeted.

The mayorís outreach to panhandlers and their donors is expected to begin next month.

"Outreach" is an interesting word choice! One suspects that people tired of dealing with panhandlers and street beggars will appreciate the campaign. Miller neglects to report how much the campaign is going to cost, which would have been a useful fact to include.

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 06/26/06 10:35 PM | Print |

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