Thursday, August 11, 2005

Group wants curfew center opened again - No need if they just reopened CHAUNCY'S

Better than a cerfew center -- just re-open the Station Square nightspot formerly known as CHAUNCY'S.
Group wants curfew center opened again -

Street-savvy youngsters in Pittsburgh know the police can't touch them for breaking curfew, but their late-night carousing has at least one neighborhood group calling for changes.

Chauncy's was famous for drinks, thugs, gun violations, high-life and bitter-sweet endings in the parking lots. The nightclub resided in a commercial district -- away from homes, sleeping kids and easy for police to buzz with "raids."

Once the casino opens, we might have a suitable replacement as well. Perhaps we can get the casino's bar to call itself CHAUCY'S and then we'd have a real magnet for maggots. The upside is that the police don't have to babysit at a curfew center.

I'm one who would rather not build a new jail but provide better things for people to do instead -- like recreation. Let's start a dozen water polo teams around town.


Anonymous said...

Group wants curfew center opened again

By Jeremy Boren
Thursday, August 11, 2005

Street-savvy youngsters in Pittsburgh know the police can't touch them for breaking curfew, but their late-night carousing has at least one neighborhood group calling for changes.

Since Pittsburgh's curfew center shut down in July 2004, police haven't enforced the curfew because the law requires a center to assess and counsel children 16 or younger if they have been out past midnight on summer weekends and 11 p.m. on weekdays. During school months, curfew starts an hour earlier.

"We've noticed that there are more kids hanging out in the alleys and streets," said Tony Ceoffe, director of the citizens action group Lawrenceville United. "We're looking at this as a social issue. Why are these kids out on the streets at night? Where are their parents? There's no way to enforce the curfew ordinance without a curfew center."

The group wants the city to open a new center and start enforcing the curfew. Ceoffe said he has spoken with City Council President Gene Ricciardi about introducing a measure to open a center. Ricciardi has been a longtime supporter of the city's previous curfew centers.

How the city would pay for it remains unclear -- half of the city's pools and most of its recreation centers remain closed due to extensive budget cuts and no money for infrastructure. Ricciardi could not be reached Wednesday; the council is in recess until Aug. 30.

Running a curfew center could cost at least $300,000 to $350,000 a year, the annual funding for the city's former curfew center that was located in the old Public Safety Building along Grant Street from April 1996 until the city sold the building to PNC Bank and moved out in 2004.

Mayor Tom Murphy moved the center to the former police station along South Main Street in the West End, but City Council cut its funding in the 2004 budget and denied Murphy's attempt to use $300,000 from a police overtime account to keep it going in July 2004.

How effective a new center would be is uncertain.

Police rarely used the former curfew center. Only about two-dozen children were taken to the center in the final six months of operation. That level of usage was typical for the center's eight-year run.

Workers at the center reached more children by going into neighborhoods and counseling youths who had broken the curfew.

Zone 5 police Cmdr. Rashall Brackney said children loitering past curfew is a "huge problem" in the East End neighborhoods of Bloomfield, Highland Park and East Liberty.

"The biggest problem you hear is from the community saying we have a lot of kids loitering at night, and the best we can do is suggest to the kids that they move on," Brackney said.

Defiant teens claim police can't do anything to them, she said. "Now we're stuck saying, 'Yeah, you're right.'"

Brackney's station receives about three reports a night of youngsters breaking curfew, sometimes more one weekends. She believes a curfew center is needed.

Katelyn Stemplewski, 17, of Squirrel Hill, said the majority of teens aren't causing problems and should be allowed to stay out past 11 p.m.

"I think there can be a pretty good reason you can be out that late if you're out with your friends," Stemplewski said as she sat with friends in Frick Park yesterday. "I don't think 11 is that late."

Jeremy Boren can be reached at or (412) 320-7987.

Anonymous said...

A curfew center is too expensive to run and keep open.

$300-$350 K a year? No thanks!

For the handful of youths they have grabbed...nope!