Prince Albert city council exploring a curfew bylaw for back alleys and

PRINCE ALBERT — Prince Albert City Council is discussing whether to impose a curfew in back alleys and walkways in order to reduce property crime.Coun. Ted Zurakowski initially proposed the idea last year and brought the motion forward again at a meeting this week. He said such a curfew would be similar to the city’s parks bylaw, which says people can’t be in parks between midnight and 6 a.m.“It gives the police increased authority to stop people and say ‘What are you doing here? Can I see your ID?’ Otherwise they just laugh at them. They laugh at the police and take off,” Zurakowski said.Mayor Greg Dionne said he supports a back alley and walkway curfew “100 per cent,” but said it would be costly to make a reality because the city would have to put signs up at the entrances of every back alley and walkway.Zurakowski said people would only be violating the bylaw if they were suspected of criminal activity.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.“I’m not talking about well, you know, I want to go for a run at midnight or 2 a.m. or I want to walk with my wife and hold hands in the middle of the night. That’s not what this is for,” Zurakowski said.Council talked about implementing a curfew with exceptions, noting that some homeowners may need to use back alleys to get into their homes.Coun. Terra Lennox-Zepp expressed concern that creating such a bylaw would cause other problems.“If we are saying that some people can be in back alleys and walkways but not others, would this contribute to racism in our city?” she asked.“Where is there any evidence that such a curfew would reduce crime? What I’m hearing instead is that it offers — it may offer — the police an opportunity to do carding, which is very different.”Carding, also referred to as street checks or contact interviews, is the controversial practice of police officers stopping someone and asking them questions without investigating a specific offence.Council voted to postpone Zurakowski’s motion until budget time, which would allow councillors and city administrators time to figure out more details before council votes.

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