East St. Louis, IL (KSDK)--It was a success, that's according to East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks. This was the first weekend of the new curfew rules put in place by the mayor to help curb violence and youth involvement.
The new curfew changes were put in place on Wednesday and since then only four teens were arrested after curfew.
"There's a little bit of a war going on and I hate to use that word 'war'," says Mayor Parks.
To fight that war the mayor added the new curfew law, people 17 and under will be arrested if they are caught out after 10pm. Friday night four teens were arrested after ten, the first to violate the curfew rule.
"The fact that we had so much focus on the curfew really brought attention to the fact that they were out and about and sure enough come to find out they were actually breaking into a home," says the mayor, who explains the new rule cuts crime twofold, taking guns out of the hands of kids and those pressuring them to do their dirty work.
"There are a lot of young adults 25 or 30 years old and they are actually victimizing the younger people to sell drugs or to go and hurt someone else, 'Have a pistol and go and exercise a beef or vendetta for me'," says the mayor.
"We've allowed this situation to get out of hand, all of us have, there's no one person to blame, no one group," says former East St. Louis mayor Carl Officer.
He says the change is up to the adults of the community: teachers, preachers and parents. Officer was mayor for 16 years and he says there has always been a city curfew, but enforcing it in the past has been an issue. Now with a police department that is understaffed by at least 30 officers it's a tall order that has to happen.
"Now is just as good a time as any," says Officer. "Why wait another three weeks or three days or three years I applaud the efforts of the mayor."
Mayor Parks says this is just the first step in turning around the city. He says further down the road the community has to come up with activities for the younger generation, keeping them busy and keeping them off the streets.