Controversial Camden business curfew gets a temporary delay
Camden businesses that were upset about having to close early because of a curfew on businesses got a temporary reprieve this morning. A New Jersey Superior Court Judge granted an injunction against the police enforcement of the controversial order this morning.
The mandatory curfew requires businesses within 200 feet of residential neighborhoods to be closed by 11:00 PM on weekdays and 12:00 AM on weekends. The curfew ordinance was passed by the Camden City Council in 2011. Exemptions were OK’d for gas stations and restaurants and bars that serve alcohol.
The goal of the curfew was to reduce crime both targeting businesses and at due to loitering at certain types of businesses that were open late or 24 hours a day. These businesses included mini-marts and take out restaurants.
Obviously, the curfew has its opponents. The main argument being that it would hurt profits for the exact types of businesses that the curfew targeted.
Camden is pushing for the curfew
The city of Camden started mailing letters to hundreds of business owners in the affected residential zones last month stating the that city was going to start enforcing the curfew. That sparked renewed opposition on behalf of residents and business owners.
Superior Court Judge Fernandez-Vina heard expert testimony from both sides today. A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the curfew was brought by three business owners and two owners of 7-Eleven franchises located in Camden. Judge Fernandez-Vina said in a statement granting the injunction that there was not sufficient evidence that there was necessary urgency to enforce the curfew before the issue goes to a full-blown trial on October 2nd. That trial could take months.
Camden had plans for a 24 hour business district?
In a strange twist, it was brought to light during the proceeding that Camden itself had published plans for its own 24 hour central business district located within the city. Obviously, this curfew would seemingly contradict those plans.
What do you think?
Do you think that Camden should be allowed to pass a curfew on businesses in order to stem crime? Is enacting a business curfew even the right move to combat crime? Do you think the City of Camden is on the right track? Let us know in the comments?
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