PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC)– After a string of recent gun violence and dozens of shootings already reported this year, the city has voted to extend its curfew for minors.
The curfew is expanding by an extra two hours, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Previously it was 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Travis Christian is the Police Chief for the City of Petersburg. Christian is hoping the curfew extension will put more responsibility on parents.
The city joins other localities like Henrico, Chesterfield and Richmond who have similar ordinances. In the Henrico County municipal code, ‘it is unlawful for a minor to remain in a public place in the county during curfew hours, except as provided unless accompanied by a parent.” Those hours are 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Chesterfield police told 8News that anyone under 18 years old must be accompanied in a public setting by a parent, legal guardian or adult lawfully in charge. This applies between 11 p.m. and daylight, unless on the way home from a civic, school, work or church function.
According to the Petersburg Police Department, there have been 45 shootings since Jan. 1. There have been multiple victims in some of these shootings.
The department is investigating three shootings just this week that left four people hurt with non-life-threatening injuries. The first location police responded to was the 800 block of S. Crater Road at Flagship Inn. Derrick Howard, 39, is facing several charges in connection to the crime.
Petersburg resident Brian Chambers lives nearby and said he’s not surprised by the shootings.
“With the way things are now, I’m just surprised there’s not more,” Chambers said.
Last month in a span of days, several people were shot at different locations, including children.
Residents addressed their concerns at this week’s city council meeting.
“Every day I talk to people who are the ones most affected by the violence, especially in ward five. They feel that they are the ones left behind, the ones that no one cares about,” one woman said.
Another woman discussed her concerns about the homeless population and inquired if council members would also address the homeless population in regard to the curfew.
W. Howard Myers is the councilman on Petersburg City Council representing ward five. Myers told his counterparts that action was necessary as soon as possible.
“When you have a loss of a child or anybody else in your family and we proceed not to do anything, I get 50 calls. The mayor gets 50 calls. Everybody gets 50 calls,” Myers said. “What are you going to do? Now it’s time to do something.”
Councilwoman Treska Wilson-Scott, who represents ward one, acknowledged terminology in the ordinance and wanted to clarify the word “adult,” and to who it applies. Wilson-Scott said many families in Petersburg allow siblings to watch their kids while they’re at work.
The city attorney and Chief Christian will work together to work on further clarification of the ordinance. The city attorney is also expected to reach out to the state to possibly expand the curfew to start at 8 p.m.
Anyone with information on the recent shooting incidents is urged to contact Crime Solvers at 804-861-1212.