BISHOP, Texas — The Bishop Police Department said there has been a city-wide rise in crimes involving suspects who are minors, but some have particularly happened at Bishop City Park.
Some of those crimes involve tearing down nets from basketball hoops at Bishop City Park, vandalism of park benches, and crimes in other locations like graffiti, shoplifting, vehicle burglary, and even ding-dong ditching late at night, which can earn a minor a trespassing charge.
“In the last two-to-three months we’ve noticed an uptick in juvenile crime specifically. It’s become a trend,” Bishop Chief of Police Edward Day said.
That’s why the Bishop Police Department is enforcing a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
“We understand that kids are going to be kids. They’re going to do mischievous things, but when they damage other people’s property, when they steal things from people, it now becomes a criminal matter,” Day said.
Day said they have not been enforcing the curfew because of the pandemic’s shut downs, so they allowed kids to be playing at the parks after hours. However, he said he believes the rise of crime is due to recent school closures because of COVID-19 and school holiday breaks.
“Allowing kids to be out there, playing basketball, burning off energy; we think that’s a good thing. However, when they start damaging property and doing things of that nature, that’s when we need to crack down and there’s consequences for that behavior,” Day said.
Day said now, they are enforcing the curfew due to recent events and minors can face up to a $500 fine if they break it. He said the other crimes like graffiti and car break-ins will merit consequences based on how much property was damaged and how much was stolen.
Bishop Mayor Tem Miller said even though they have had the curfew ordinance for minors for a few years, the Bishop City Council is getting ready to vote on an ordinance to extend the curfew to 9 p.m.
“A curfew will make sure that the children are off the field and in the home where they belong at certain hours of the night,” Miller said.