New curfew on the way for Yakima parks

New curfew on the way for Yakima parks
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima police say violating the city's curfew should no longer be as easy as a walk in the park.

Officers say after-hours in Yakima parks is prime-time for crime: Drugs, drinking, graffiti and gangs. They say the current dusk-to-dawn curfew isn't working. City code is too lenient and people just don't know the rules.

Now, city officials plan to get tough with a new, strict 10pm to 6am curfew in all parks, for all ages.

Saul Fuentes skates in Kiwanis Park. He says he's had to clean up leftover needles there.

"I thought they might have been diabetic, but the burned spoons nearby kind of give the telltale sign," Saul said.

Saul is a fan of the curfew. He hopes it will keep the park clean and improve safety.

"I think it might be a good thing to deter youths from doing bad things or falling into susceptible peer pressure,” Saul said.

The new rules might sound ideal for concerned parents. However, Todd Havner tells me he thinks parks are a relaxing place to be at night.

"To shut it down in the evening when it cools down and it's nice enough to come outside seems kind of counterproductive I guess,” Todd said.

Todd says he understands Yakima's concern, but thinks the city has bigger fish to fry.

"I think we have a lot more important problems in the city of Yakima than kids out after 10 pm in the skate park,” Todd said.

Other skaters I talked to say they appreciate Yakima's parks and will play by the rules.

"We just want to respect them,” one park-goer said.

"The curfew could be good but only time will tell,” Saul said.

Yakima plans to add new signs that would show the curfew times. It would let police make arrests or write tickets to violators. City Council will vote to finalize the rules next month.