Teen Surge On Weekend Nights Moving Across The River From Coolidge Park

32 Citations Were Issued After Teens "Took Over Walnut Street"

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A teen surge that has authorities nervous especially on Friday and Saturday nights has moved from the Coolidge Park area directly across the river.

Police said, "It appears that there is an issue of large crowds of juveniles hanging out downtown creating problems. There have been numerous complaints from residents and businesses concerning the following issues: knocking on doors, trespassing on private property, setting car alarms off, shouting, pushing each other, blocking the streets and disturbing businesses.

"At one point, rocks were thrown at police.

"Warnings have been issued in the past, but to no avail. So city ordinance citations are now being issued along with parents being contacted."

Police said on Saturday, May 19, there were 32 citations issued to juveniles - 14 for obstructing the sidewalk and 18 for disorderly conduct.

That night, authorities said a group of about 50-60 juveniles "took over" a section of Walnut Street, lying down in the street and refusing to move.

Residents of the Museum Bluff Condos looked down recently to see a youth being beaten in the middle of Cherry Street near Second.

The new area where the youths are congregating is in a section near the Market Street Bridge and the popular Walnut Street Bridge.

Police Chief Bobby Dodd said he went to dinner with his wife recently at Second and Market and saw no unruly activity, but he saw a large number of youths, including many who appeared to be from 11 to 14.

Chief Dodd said tightening of regulations at Coolidge Park apparently had solved problems there, but it had moved across the river.

He said there are now 10 officers stationed downtown to deal with weekend night problems.

Mayor Ron Littlefield took the invitation of a condo resident to observe the weekend situation. He spent about three hours surveying the situation, but that night proved to be a quiet one. 

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