EAST ST. LOUIS — Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. on Wednesday announced that a juvenile curfew that is already part of the city's ordinances will be enforced, starting immediately, in an effort to curtail gun violence.
Parks said there is an urgent need in the city to address youth-on-youth violence.
He cited the deaths of three young men who were gunned down early Sunday outside Club VIP juice bar at 6830 State St.
He said the violence is especially devastating to the victims' families and "it's wiping out youth."
Parks said he has confidence in the members of the East St. Louis Police Department and the partnerships with other law enforcement agencies.
He announced that effective immediately, police will arrest:
* Teens 17 and younger between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. if they are not in school.
* Teens 17 and younger on the streets after 10 p.m.
* Those loitering, a change from the warnings previously given.
Additionally, police will stop and search more vehicles for drugs, weapons, open alcohol. They will check pedestrians for alcohol, search them, demand state ID's and go after those wearing gang colors of red or royal blue.
"We've gotta safeguard them and keep them off the streets," Parks said. "The measures are extreme, but we've got to do what is necessary."
St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said enforcing the curfew "is a positive step."
This summer, Kelly's office, along with other law enforcement personnel in the Save Our Streets Initiative, targeted known hot spots in East St. Louis where people were known to be hanging out on corners.
Kelly said the work was effective in reducing crime in the city. Then, in the last week there has been a rash of violent crimes.
"We have to do something to get a handle on this violence," Police Chief Michael Floore. "We believe this curfew will get a lot of teenagers off of the streets. If they are supposed to be in school and are not for whatever reason, they cannot be hanging around outside."
On Monday afternoon, a 14-year-old boy, who police have not identified, was cutting grass when he was shot multiple times.
He is in an undisclosed hospital where police said he remains in critical condition.
They have not said whether they know why the boy was not in school.
Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 239-2503.