Philadelphia City Council has passed curfew bill and the Mayor is expected to sign it within the next week. The new city ordinance would set a curfew for kids fourteen (14) to seventeen (17) at 10:00 p.m. Curfew ordinance for kids thirteen (13) and younger will be 9:30 p.m. There is no fine, however, for violating the curfew. In the past, parents of children who violated curfew could receive a $250.00 fine for a first violation and $300 to $500 for subsequent violations.
This ordinance provides no financial incentive for parents to comply but yet requires a police officer to make every reasonable attempt to return a child home. If that is not possible, the officer is supposed to take the violator to one of two community centers in south or southwest Philadelphia; two additional resource centers will open this summer in northwest and central Philadelphia.
Like any law, there are exceptions to curfew for children and teenagers accompanied by adults or guardians, those who have jobs or are attending school or religious activities, or kids who are outside on their home’s porch or sidewalk.
The proposed new law is an attempt to keep young people safe based on recent mass shootings. In addition, business owners have complained that large groups of teens congregating often causes problems for their business, especially following the openings after almost a two-year Covid restriction and shut-down policy.
Experts, however, have indicated that curfews do little to reduce violence or lower victimization rates. Philadelphia has a had a curfew since 1955, but it was updated in 2011 under former Mayor, Michael Nutter. Last year, however, the police stopped issuing citations and opened resource centers instead. Experts believe and have found that most juvenile crime and victimization occurs outside of curfew hours, but curfews are a low cost, low stake effort, which can nevertheless help.
Critics have argued that police resources dedicated to curfews will take away from more important issues. Since 2015, over 12,300 people have been shot in Philadelphia, 8% were juveniles and 54% were between the ages of 18 and 29. Juveniles account for 3% of those charged with fatal shootings and 13% of those charged with non-fatal shootings. Philadelphia did implement a curfew over this past summer, yet more children were shot in Philadelphia than during any other summer on record.
Our criminal defense law firm wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season!
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