PORT BYRON - After vandals have twice broken a fountain - since removed - and made a mess in Schasel Park, village leaders have seen enough.

Once solely a parental duty, Port Byron has imposed a curfew for anyone younger than 18.

The Port Byron Village Board unanimously passed a local law Monday stating teenagers and children can not remain on streets, alleys, and public places between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. without a guardian.

Police officers may drive the minors home and decide whether to penalize them.

Violators could get a $100 fine, or spend 10 days in jail for the first offense.

Other offenses will cost $250 or 15 days in jail. At a resident's suggestion during the public hearing, Mayor Ronald Wilson added a provision allowing the board to escalate the fine's amount for repeating violators.

“I would hope that after (paying) $250 that would be about it,” Wilson said.

However, because the law is targeted at minors, in some cases, parents would be subject to the penalties rather than the youths.

The approved policy is similar to ones passed in Cato and Jordan, Wilson said.

The law allows anyone 17 and younger to remain on village streets past 10 p.m. if they are with parents, have a note from a family member detailing an errand, or coming from religious, school, or work-related activities.

Port Byron Police Chief Christopher O'Donovan assured the board that officers will use common sense and discretion to enforce this law.

Patrol officers will know about sporting events and other school functions, which is an allowed excuse in the policy.

The law is targeted at those youth who loiter in public areas at night and into the early morning hours.

Teenagers walking home from a friend's house likely won't get into trouble, O'Donovan added.

“That's not what we're trying to do. We're trying to cap the problem,” he said.

The Port Byron Police Department boasts seven part-time officers who patrol throughout the day and evening, but not from midnight to 8 a.m. Officials plan to vary the police department schedules to improve policing as another measure to prevent more damage to village and residents' properties.

“I don't personally believe in curfews but we have no viable alternative,” Wilson said.

Now that late night gatherings in village parks are now illegal, leaders hope to see a reduction in vandalism.

Workers repaired the three-tier fountain that stood in the triangular section between Main and Utica streets after it was damaged. Last week, it was vandalized a second time. The top tier hung down the side and another portion was torn off the body.

Repairs proved too costly and village officials removed it. Wilson mentioned someone had burned a couch on Green Street last week. Another resident recently told the board he found a youth smashing his slate sidewalk in front of his home.

“It just hasn't gotten that bad until recently,” Wilson said.

Staff writer Jessica Soule can be reached at 253-5311, ext. 267 or jessica.soule@lee.net

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