Plaza wants Kansas City to impose 9 p.m. curfew on youth - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Plaza wants Kansas City to impose 9 p.m. curfew on youth

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The Country Club Plaza is asking Kansas City to move up its curfew as a way to handle unruly teens who are creating problems for visitors and merchants.

Highwoods Properties, the owner of the Plaza, made the request for a 9 p.m. curfew to Mayor Sly James and Kansas City Council members this week in an email obtained Friday by KCTV5.com.

"These problems with the teens loitering on the Plaza on the weekends has really turned into a major issue for the Plaza as a whole and for the merchants in particular," Spencer Thomson, attorney for Highwoods Properties, wrote Wednesday. "It has gotten out of hand, especially around the vicinity of the cinema."

Thomson said the problems typically end near the start of the city's curfew, which is 11 p.m. on  weeknights and midnight on Friday and Saturday for those 17 years old and younger. He said a 9 p.m. curfew would "immediately address these issues in a fair and positive way."

Thomson told KCTV5.com on Friday that the call for an earlier curfew is intended to help nip problems in the bud. He said a 9 p.m. curfew is needed more than just on the Plaza because unless there is "a citywide solution" then the issues would only be relocated to other parts of the city.

"These kids don't need to be out without adults congregating in this manner," Thomson wrote in the email. "It just encourages conflict and unlawful behavior."

A spokesman for James said the mayor is willing to discuss an earlier curfew.

"It is a tool that the mayor, council, police department and municipal court will need to talk about and whether it would be appropriate, needed and effective," Danny Rotert said in an interview Friday afternoon.

In response to teen flash mob violence, the city of Philadelphia imposed this month a 9 p.m. curfew on Fridays and Saturdays for anyone under the age of 18 in targeted areas.

Rotert noted that Kansas City has not seen the issues that Philadelphia has had. He praised the police departments's efforts "to calm some waters."

This is the last true summer weekend for most area youth who are returning to class next week, Rotert said.

As a result, James, former Mayor Pro Tem Al Brooks, ministers and community leaders will congregate on the Plaza starting at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in effort to ensure there are no problems.

"The mayor thinks it would be best to be down there and calm any tensions," Rotert said.

In his email, Thomson said the behavior by some youth toward visitors, shoppers, police and security "is shameful."

Thomson predicted that an earlier curfew would enjoy broad community support because residents realize it's a problem that needs addressing. He said if the council fails to "act soon there could be irreparable harm to the Plaza and its merchants."

But he said an earlier curfew and finding productive things for teens to do aren't just issues for the Plaza.

"Without a citywide solution, these kids will find somewhere to congregate," Thomson wrote. "Please help."

What do you think? Weigh in on KCTV5's Facebook page.

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