Underage curfews: Quieter streets without teens?

Police presence in Center City and University City will beef up at night to support a curfew Nutter says will be backed by fines for juvenile’s parents.

Mayor Michael Nutter, along with District Attorney Seth Williams and Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everett Gillison, gathered at Dilworth Plaza yesterday to announce a crackdown on teen mob violence.

First on the agenda? Curfews. Minors will no longer be allowed out after 9 p.m. in the target areas of Center City and University City on Friday and Saturday nights, starting this weekend.

Penalties for violating the weekend curfew, previously 10 p.m. for those 13 and under and midnight for those 14 to 17, are already in effect. Fifteen citations were handed out last Friday and Saturday.

But Nutter hopes to take enforcement to a new level. Those who break curfew will be taken to police stations and their parents called. If a guardian fails to show, police will contact the Department of Human Services and, in addition to facing $100 to $500 fines, parents can be taken to court.

The temporary curfew will be re-evaluated when school begins again in September.

The cost of enforcement will be partially offset by community partners patrolling the streets along with beat cops, bike police and the mounted patrol unit. The city is asking citizens to step up and volunteer their time to act as an extra set of eyes and ears on busy weekend nights.

“It’s not just a Philadelphia Police Department challenge,” Nutter said. “It’s a challenge for all of us as community members. … There’s still time for you to be part of the solution.”

But Williams was quick to remind teens in the crowd, “When all else fails, you will deal with us.”
No longer will courts allow community service or diversionary programs as alternatives to jail time for those who participate in mob violence.


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