Flash Mobs and Curfew: What's Next?
Cleveland Heights police, city officials, residents and organizations review new policies and continue to brainstorm solutions
Nearly two months have passed since a group of mostly teenagers crowded Coventry and made city officials rethink their curfew laws and strategies to avoid what some call flash mobs.
On June 26, some said hundreds to thousands of youth congregated in the street on Coventry near the end of the arts fair with no real purpose. Fights broke out, and 16 teenagers were arrested. Organizers canceled the next fair, which was scheduled for July 24.
City Council members called a special meeting and implemented a 6 p.m. curfew for minors in the Coventry and Cedar Lee business districts just days after the event, but later added several exceptions, including allowances for those who want to go to concerts or movies.
Some believe that the revised curfew laws are working, and tension has simmered.
“If you go down to Coventry or Cedar Lee, things are a lot more calmer and family oriented,” Mayor Ed Kelley said. “People I talk to are very happy with it.”
Grog Shop owner Kathy Blackman said she's seen less loitering and congestion outside of her business near the corner of Euclid Heights Boulevard and Coventry Road. But she wants kids to know they can still come to her shows.
"(Police) haven’t really been bullying people, which I think is great … I’ve seen a slight decrease of attendance with my kids' shows," she said. "I want them to know they can come, and they won’t get hassled and they won’t get arrested."
Kelley said council members review the new curfew every month or other month to monitor its success.
Cleveland Heights Patch interviewed Police Chief Jeffrey Robertson, community organization leaders and others about youth issues in the community and the region. See below for links to related stories.