East St. Louis Enacts Curfew To Fight Violent Crime

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EAST ST. LOUIS, IL. (KTVI) -An extreme crackdown on violence began in East St. Louis, Wednesday.  
Mayor Alvin Parks declared "zero tolerance" for violators of 7 new directives, covering everything from curfew to clothing.  

Hearing the mayor lay down the new rules brought to mind Moses and the 10 commandments.

'Through the week, (those) 17 and under will be arrested if they are not in school,' Parks began, at a news conference with city and police leaders.

'Weekdays and weekends, the curfew is 10 o`clock, no exceptions...there`s no going or coming anywhere unless they`re accompanied by a parent or guardian.'

Let it be known on the streets, the mayor said, there would be no warnings.  

What you might call the '7 commandments' targeted more than just young people.

'No royal blue, no bright red, to be worn by our men or our boys in this community,' Parks continued.

'Those who are hanging out at 11th and Bond; 15th & Lynch, 38th & Waverly, wherever you happen to be, if you`re loitering, you will be arrested.'

He also said people would searched, whether on foot, bicycle, or in cars.

'We`re talking about vehicles being stopped and searched for guns, weapons, drugs, open alcohol or any other kinds of violations.  Why?  In many cases, the vehicles are carrying the guns.  The guns will be used to shoot someone,' the mayor said.  'You need to make sure you have your state issued ID with you.  If not, you will be arrested.'

It is a drastic response to a drastic disregard for law and life: the triple murder at Club VIP plus a stabbing death in another incident, all during early morning hours over the weekend; all male victims, ages 18-21.  

Those are just the crimes that make the headlines.

'These shootings and fights are over nothing, little or nothing.  A guy got shot just yesterday because a guy owed him $60,' said East St. Louis Police Chief, Michael Floore.  'It`s something we have to do to get these youth to understand crime doesn`t pay.  We`re going to stop it ... zero tolerance.'

'We`ve got to safeguard and keep them off the streets.  There are people shooting at each other for no reason whatsoever or no good reason,' Parks said.  'When a 14 year old boy gets shot in the chest in broad open daylight, while he`s cutting the grass.  That tells you, we`ve got to do whatever is necessary.'

'I think it`s very much needed.  I see young people in the streets all the time; basically with nothing to do, not interest in school; not all of them; but some of them, so I think it`s a good thing,' said resident, Orlando Smith.

He said he was in his 40`s.  He doubted he was going to leave his bright red Cardinals gear in the drawer.

'Zero tolerance.  Zero tolerance,' Parks said.

He added that he wouldn't rule out calling in the National Guard.

As for the murder cases, the suspect in the stabbing, Rodney Lewis, 28, of East St. Louis, is in custody and charged with first degree murder; bail set at $1,000,000.  In the triple murder case, police have recovered a car they believe is involved and have strong leads on potential suspects.

There were no charges filed Wednesday.

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