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Port Arthur city leaders in favor of expanding curfew for minors as crimes involving youth rise

“I've embalmed individuals who were 18 and 19 years old, you know, at a rate since January.”

PORT ARTHUR, Texas — Violent crimes in Port Arthur have city leaders sounding the alarm. They say a lot of the crimes involve the city's youth.

In response, the Port Arthur Police Department is requesting the city adjust the curfew for teenagers.

Port Arthur Police, city council members, and pastors are in favor of this recommendation.

With the uptick in teen crimes and summer around the corner, they say this curfew is needed now more than ever.

Numbers don’t lie, but Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie doesn't have to evaluate the stats to see what's going on in the youth community.

“I know right now this year there have been too many deaths,” Bartie said.

Bartie has spent 40 years being a funeral director.

He said he's had to lay one too many teens to rest this year alone.

“I've embalmed individuals who were 18 and 19 years old, you know, at a rate since January,” Bartie said.

Bartie and other city leaders support a police recommendation to change the city's curfew for teens.

“At the previous council meeting, Deputy Chief, Jeremy Houston, advise the council about the amendment or amending of the curfew ordinance,” Bartie said. 

Minutes from the previous city council meeting show Port Arthur Police suggested expanding the curfew for minors from midnight to 10 p.m.

“I believe that the majority of the council would certainly act 'yes' to that particular request because of what is occurring in our society right now,” Bartie said. 

Pastor Eddie Patin is heavily involved in the youth community and believes the time change will make a difference.

“I am in support of a curfew change. Our young people need to be home in a safe environment,” Patin said.

He said he started noticing the uptick in teen crimes years ago.

“Honestly, two years ago, I started seeing more and more kids finding themselves in this crime rave that's been going on in our community,” Patin said. 

The proposed curfew is not set in stone yet. Right now, it's just a recommendation, but officials believe this is something the youth need.

“We want to assist those parents who are actually trying to be parents and we won't assist those homes where there aren't any rules in the home, well that's one rule that the city has that you're going to have to follow,” Bartie said.

12News reach out to Bartie's challenger in the runoff election for mayor. Candidate Floyd Batiste didn't want to comment at this time.

RELATED: Incumbent Thurman Bartie and Floyd Batiste to compete in June 11 runoff election for Port Arthur Mayor

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