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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Town of Laurel Decides Fate of Emergency Curfew

LAUREL, Del.- It was decision day for town leaders in Laurel.
On Monday night the mayor and town council members unanimously decided to keep the emergency curfew for non-residents at Carvel Gardents Apartments in place.
The 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew has been in place since February. The curfew is meant to curb ongoing crime and violence in the area.
Laurel police recommended the mayor and the town council keep the curfew in place. It was set to expire at 10 p.m. Monday, unless town leaders decided to keep it in place.
"The residents of Carvel Gardens deserve the right that when they close their doors at night and go in, that things are nice and quiet just like they are in my neighborhood, just like they are in anybody else's," said Laurel Police Chief Michael Wilson.
Wilson said the department has the numbers to prove the curfew has been working so far.
"We've actually seen a 64 percent drop in the calls for service at Carvel Gardens compared to the exact same time of last year, " he said.
Some residents said that while during the day it is mostly quiet, it is not always the case . They said the curfew has somewhat of a positive impact but it has not exactly resolved all of the issues there.
"It's working but it's still kind of rowdy here and there's still a lot of disturbance," said Nellie Rittenhouse.
"I think it should be lifted," said Christopher Barker. "It's not really as violent as you think it is."
Fred Adams of Laurel said, "The curfew is putting a Band-Aid on it. I think there should be something done that permanently fixes the problem. If we have gang activity having their get-togethers in the parking lot then there's got to be something done, if the police department and the state police working together to disrupt their gatherings."
Even though residents expressed their mixed feelings, town leaders said there is no need to change what they think has been making a difference in the community.
"This happens to be an area where we've had some sporadic but very violent incidents," said Mayor John Shwed. "We think we have turned a corner on that so the residents of Carvel Gardens should feel good, because we feel like we have taken some very effective action."
Wilson said the department is recommending that the curfew stay in place at least until summer.

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