Several minors arrested near riverfront for causing problems aft - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Several minors arrested near riverfront for causing problems after dark

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - During the past month, Chattanooga Police arrested at least 21 juveniles near the riverfront, at Aquarium Way and Market Street.   

12 juveniles were arrested on Saturday, May 2, and nine were arrested the next Saturday on May 9.

Some business owners downtown say they're worried about safety.

"I really was a little bit afraid for my employees to go home because we're open until 11," said Lynda Curtis, owner of the Ice Cream Show.

Lynda Curtis says there have never been any problems on her property, but the large groups of unsupervised kids hanging out nearby are too close for comfort.

"And so when they get so many of them, if somebody just says well let's do this, then they're going to do it ya know," Curtis said.

Chattanooga Police Communications Coordinator Kyle Miller said the majority of the juveniles were arrested for disorderly conduct, walking in the street, blocking traffic, jumping on top of parked cars and congregating in groups as large as 200 to 250 people the past three to four weekends.
Miller said CPD has been getting a lot of complaints from tourists, and people living in the area about the large groups of kids hanging out in that area recently.

"We try to not make arrests, but sometimes we have to," said Lt. Scott Fulgham.

Lt. Fulgham says officers first try to talk with minors, then contact their parents.

Making the arrest is the last resort, and can happen when parents are hard to track down.

Lt. Fulgham says CPD is increasing patrols around Aquarium Way and Market Street.

Curtis welcomes the security, but worries the police cars may scare customers.

"Visitors won't necessarily have the opportunity of knowing that the police are here to protect, they're first thought probably is going to be, oh I better not go near there because there's something bad happening," Curtis said.

Local attorney David Veazey said about half of the charges among the juveniles were dismissed during their first court appearance, but not all of the juveniles have seen a judge at this time. 

According to Chattanooga city code, teens under the age of 16 are not allowed to be in public places without an adult from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. during the week. The same rules apply on the weekends from midnight to 6 a.m.

There are even more strict curfew rules for Coolidge Park across the river, after juvenile crowds got out of hand there a few years ago.
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