Perspective: WIS editorial on City of Columbia curfew and open container laws

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A curfew and container laws? Is that really the best way to reduce teen violence in our city?

Business owners and residents in the Five Points area have legitimate safety concerns. But I'm concerned that the Columbia City Council will enact policies that are legally shaky and extremely difficult to enforce.

The council voted to establish a citywide curfew after 11pm for children under 18 unless they can show a college ID, and it temporarily adopted a tougher open container law.

Our city police are already challenged with 27 vacancies.  Do we really want them allocating precious resources to checking id's and busting little old ladies for walking around with a glass of wine?  This is starting to feel like a police state!

What we need most is a very strong response to the recent random violence in the form of more police patrols…in other words, more feet on the street.

I like outgoing interim Chief Burke's idea of creating a special team of officers who would focus on patrolling Five Points, The Vista, Harbison Boulevard and other areas where nightlife is active and often problematic.

I am not convinced that a curfew and a tougher open container law will work and may, in fact, distract our police from their main mission -- keeping the citizens of Columbia safe.

That's my perspective.  What do you think?

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