After an 18-year-old male was brutally attacked by eight teenagers in Five Points at the end of last month, a Columbia City Council enacted a temporary curfew that restricts individuals 17 years and younger from being in the downtown area from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. without a parent or guardian. The ban, put into place Tuesday, June 28, will expire 60 days from its inception.
These restrictions should become permanent. There is no reason for minors to be in Five Points during late hours of the night and early hours of the morning, especially in an area primarily full of bars that are generally the only facilities open during these times. Not only is there nothing constructive for them to be doing at this time and place, it is inherently dangerous for them to be roaming the sidewalks alongside intoxicated bar-goers. And, as seen by the incident last month, it can be dangerous for those over the age of 18 as well.
This curfew should probably have been placed long before a violent incident had to occur to incite any action.
Similar curfews have been in place for years at private businesses whose environments made for accommodating, popular places for teens to gather. These include Columbia Place mall and the Columbiana Grande movie theater, as well as the Village at Sandhill shopping center. If shopping malls and movie theaters have reason enough to enact these curfews to protect minors and prevent unnecessary violence, then surely the Council can agree that a permanent curfew is not unreasonable for Five Points.
To assume that this curfew is only needed for 60 days and that acts of violence committed by minors will cease after the summer season is naive. The curfew for those 16 years old and younger should become a permanent placement for the Five Points area.