Fresno police will partner with faith-based groups to place juveniles who are out late on weekends into curfew centers where they will be safe, Chief Jerry Dyer said Tuesday.
The chief and Capt. Mark Salazar of the department’s Southwest District outlined the plan at the department’s monthly Crime View session.
For now, the centers would open on Friday nights with the goal of keeping juveniles out of harm’s way during late-night hours, the chief said. Police believe that young people congregating, especially at high-crime areas in southwest Fresno, can become targets of violence, especially shootings. There were 42 shootings in the city in the last 28 days, and many were at night. An ordinance prohibits those under 18 from being out on their own after 10 p.m., and officers would enforce that measure.
The chief said the enforcement effort is not targeting youth engaged in positive activities. But Salazar cited intersections such as Fresno and C street, the scene of frequent shootings, as the type of area officers would like to see free of juveniles in the wee hours. Salazar said the curfew center program might be expanded to Saturday at a later time.
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Under the plan, juveniles would be held in the centers, such as the Frank H. Ball center in southwest Fresno, until a parent or other responsible adult could pick them up. But they would not simply be warehoused, Salazar added: southwest Fresno pastor Joby Jones, someone known to mentor young people, is already on board with the idea of hanging out with the youth, and Salazar hopes to bring in other community leaders.