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City looking to nix crime after daylight hours

With summertime comes school breaks, longer daylight hours and an increase in outdoor activities.

Unfortunately, it also signals an increased opportunity for mischief.

Officers with the Ironton Police Department make frequent trips

to city parks and playgrounds after dark to contend with clashes between people who want peace and quiet and those who just want to have fun. Then, there are the reports of property thefts and vandalism.

In an effort to combat the problems, city leaders have closed the Ironton Boat Dock to the general public at night and are enforcing existing rules about nighttime activity at public parks and playgrounds.

A combination lock now seals off the boat dock between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. Boaters and others

who have an ongoing specific need to be there have the combination.

Police are also increasing their patrols of the area.

"It happens almost every summer. Some people are going down there are pilfering some of the boats," Ironton Police Chief Bill Garland said. "And they're taking anything that isn't tied down. We've also had a little problem with people going down there are drinking."

Jim Miller is one of the city residents who has a boat docked there. He is also one of the victims of the recent rash of thefts and vandalism.

On Monday, July 1, he reported that someone entered his boat, took cash and other items and ripped up his curtains.

A week later, he had to call police again when thieves ripped off two speakers and an amplifier.

"That's what they're taking," Miller said. "Stereos and amplifiers and radios. I think they're taking stuff they can turn into a little cash and buy drugs with it."

Miller said of the 14 boats docked at the city facility, all of them have had some sort of theft or vandalism problem.

He said he was pleased that police have stepped up patrols, are installing new lighting and other security features, and are eliminating some of the access routes thieves may have used to gain entry to the boats.

"It does make me feel better," Miller said. "We need a night watchman but I realize that's not economically feasible."

Garland said the city has for years had a rule that public parks and playgrounds be vacated at 10 p.m.

"It hasn't been enforced that much because we haven't had much of a problem until now," Garland said. "But things are getting out of hand. A few are going to ruin it for everyone."

New signs are going up giving people until the 11 p.m to enjoy these facilities before police ask them to go home. Those who refuse can be charged with disorderly conduct.

"Every one of our playgrounds are adjacent to residential areas where working people who have to get up and go to work are subjected to noise," Garland said. "It's out of respect for the people who live in the area. You can have fun, but if you stay late and keep people up, that's another thing."

There have been regular complaints about park visitors playing music too loudly too late at night, people playing basketball and other sports late at night.

There have also been reports of criminal activity, such as drug use, public intoxication and fighting. Teresa Moore/The Ironton Tribune