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Louisiana town imposes curfew to cut crime

Clinton, La., police say a recent rash of crimes prompted them to enact a town-wide curfew between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. WVLA's Alex Deiro reports.

The chief of police of Clinton, La., says he knows everyone in his small town, and that’s why he wants to keep it safe with an 11 p.m. curfew for all its residents.

After 13 years with the Clinton police department, Chief Fred Dunn said he knows when crimes are going to occur. And they usually happen in the night hours.

“The reason why I did the curfews is because of the businesses and home owners,” he said. “My citizens have been telling me that when they go home, they don’t feel safe.”

Clinton is a community of about 1,600 people about 35 miles north of Baton Rouge. 

Dunn implemented the curfew – which lasts until 6 a.m. – on May 30 and he said it's already producing results. The chief said he encountered two men hanging around one of Clinton’s streets a few days ago. Dunn said he was able to tell the men to move on because of the curfew. Later that night, Dunn said he learned the same men robbed a town 18 miles away.

The chief said residents have praised the new ordinance, but not everyone is a fan.

“I think that's kind of stripping people's rights to come and go as they please,” Tammy Childress, who works at the only 24/7 gas station in town, told NBC affiliate WVLA.

“We’re the only store open 24 hours here in Clinton, and we do pretty good business between the hours of 11 and 2,” Childress said.

But Dunn said no one has come to his office to complain about the curfew.

“I haven’t had one person come and say they don’t think it’s right,” he said. “I have an open-door policy and anyone can come talk to me.”

Dunn said he understands some people are travelling to and from work, and those people are not stopped. During their patrol, his officers look for cars stopped in the same area for longer than 30 minutes.

He plans to keep the curfew in place while he monitors crime rates.