Curfew Law May Get Tougher, But Many Say It’s Not Enforced

CHICAGO (CBS) — Do you know where your kids are? Chicago’s curfew law says anyone under 17 cannot be outside or in a public place after 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and after 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

On Thursday, the City Council votes whether or not to make curfew rules tougher. The proposal would move up the curfew time to 8:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday for kids under the age of 13.

But some people wonder, why bother? As CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman reports, many residents complain that police don’t enforce what’s on the books already.

By day, Mason Park on Chicago’s West Side is pleasant, but local resident Joan Lowe said that, after dark, it’s a different story.

“I see drug selling, drug usage … sex, partying. Everything that shouldn’t be going on,” Lowe said, adding that some of the kids are as young as 14, out after curfew.

Her daughter, Trounia Lowe, said she knows, “if you stay outside past curfew – just like my momma said – people can get hurt, shot or, even worse, people can die.”

This week, a 13-year-old boy was hurt was shot by Chicago police officers when – at around 11 p.m. Monday – he allegedly pointed a BB gun at them after they approached him about an earlier shooting in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood.

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy called it a tragedy and said he didn’t want to point fingers, but said “When we’ve got 13-year-old kids on street late at night. that’s a recipe for disaster.

To him, the curfew is a big deal, but Police Department statistics show officer-written curfew violations are down.

They went from 23,275 in 2009 – when the city moved up the curfew time by half an hour – to 19,555 last year. Halfway into 2011, there have been 8,398 curfew violations.

In the Harrison District, where Lowe lives, there have been 279 curfew violations written up in six months, but Lowe said she knows there are more kids than that out after curfew.

“They’re getting people, but … I think they can get more,” she said. “The police will ride by and see the kids in the playlot and won’t do anything. … I have a big problem with that.”

Her daughter said she has a lot of friends who stay out after curfew, but police don’t do anything about it.

“We’re going to take a real hard look at ourselves and do something about it,” said Police Deputy Supt. Of Patrol Ernest Brown.

“I have to get tougher on my commanders to make sure that they’re doing curfews,” McCarthy said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at the news conference that he grew up with a curfew. When the street lights came on—he says—you got your tail home and inside. Thus, the mayor supports the measure setting an earlier curfew for younger children.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

“It doesn’t mean just because you have it, kids are going to be safe, but it means that we’re aligning good parenting with the laws of the city … to make sure kids are going to be safe,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

The mayor also mentioned the need for good parenting; the police can’t do this alone.

But one mom said folks won’t take curfew seriously until police officers crack down.

Brown said city residents will see more curfew violations.

  • RN Chicago

    I’m an RN. Every night/morning when I get home from work around 3 a.m., I sit down for a while and look out the window and see packs of children walking up and down the streets, screaming, laughing, running, hollering, running up on people’s porches.

    There will never be an enforceable curfew. The police are not babysitters.

  • Lyndia

    I hope parents take heed to the new curfew. Bring your children in. Read a story to them, make them do their homework, in other words be responsible for your children, not involved but RESPONSIBLE. Then you won’t have to worry about them being hurt or mained. That is common sense 101.

    • Biff

      Alot of these black mamas could care less what their kids are doing. Probably too busy smoking those crack rocks.

    • Roberta Waker

      Getting involved IS being responsible. You can’t have one without the other. Children that are busy with sports and other LEGAL activities don’t get into trouble. I think you mean “maimed” not mained?

  • marsares

    Run Paddy wagons around the city, pick up packs of kids at a time, hold them and charge their parents to come and get them, I garentee the parents will PAY attention after that!

  • sick of irresponsibility

    How about parents keep their kids inside and raise them instead of counting on the police to do it. Thats an idea,,,,

    • Roberta Waker

      Right. No child should be out late at night. An earlier curfew makes more sense and maybe the police DO need to patrol the neighborhoods with paddy wagons and pick them up. Fine the parents when they pick them up for “babysitting” their children. Maybe THEN they will get the message.

  • workinman2

    These days “KIDS” tell their “PARENTS” when to come in…DCFS said they could….

    • Roberta Waker

      If this is true, then DCFS should support and be responsible for the children. If parents can’t discipline their children; they will be uncontrollable. It’s hard enough to raise kids in today’s world because of all the gangs and drugs, etc. Let the State take care of them if the State won’t let parents discipline their children and if State laws allow the kids to be in control.

  • Kathleen P. Johnson

    it’s NOT the Police Departments Responsibility to make sure these kids go home!
    Make New Laws to hold these parents Responsible for their own kids!
    If the kid don’t come home on time once…He gets a warning. The second time There should be a fine for the parents, & the fine should go up Every Time There After! If the kid keeps on violat5ing the curfew, then CPS should be advised & an investigation should be started on the family. Obviously there is a problem, when a parent can’t even get their kid to come home! This says the parents have No Control over the kid, or Don’t Care Enough & therefore, they are not competent enough to be a parent!
    Parents now days push Their Responsibility Off onto anyone they can…The teachers, coach, grandma, auntie, boyfriend, Etc… It’s a bunch of Cr@p!

  • rc

    The problem is that these “parents” (actually donors and incubators) consider their issue a by-product. That’s the root of the problem.

  • Jeff R

    The 13 year old boy who was shot the other day with the BB gun, was out after 1 a.m. not 11:00p.m.. Don;t make it sound like it wasn’t a big deal. Parents need to be parents. Put the pipe down and pull out a board game already and be a proud parent and spend time with your children, they are more than just extra income tax money!

    • Roberta Waker

      I agree, Jeff. Parents need to spend more time with their children because most of today’s kids are raising themselves. Fines for the parents is also a great idea – when you hit people in the pocketbook you will get their attention. Parents need to know where their children are, with whom and what they are doing. If they don’t they are failing as parents.

  • Barbara Wright

    True the police could patrol neighborhoods better. I see kids, espicially on the weekends out roaming around at 2:00 and3:00 in the morning. Where are thesr kids parents. I believe child picked up by the policefor curfew violation should be reported to DCFS. Parents should be held accountable.

  • snicks

    Fines for parents? What will they pay with? Their LINK card?
    Arresting the parent? Their is usually only one, so now Auntie gets on the foster care payroll.
    Reporting them to DCFS? Again, Auntie is on the foster care payroll or the state takes care of the kids.
    Cutting off ALL welfare, WIC, etc. is the only way to go. Maybe if they have to get a job to pay the hospital back the $14,000 for delivering their baby, they would think twice about any more kids.

    • Kay

      You are very right snicks. These “parents” who are in these ‘neighborhoods’ aren’t taking care ot their kids. They just want to collect the welfare, Link cards and WIC. And for the hospital,…exactly…you know they don’t have any health insurance and they keep having babies after babies. If you have a woman/couple that has 3 kids and are on welfare…I will use MY tax money to have her tubes tied.

  • bill burns

    The law should only apply to coloreds since their parents have an average IQ of 15 and are smoking crack all night.

  • Kay

    Yes snicks. These parents in these neighborhoods don’t take care of their children. When I had a curfew growing up and came in late….I would get spanked or slapped and wouldn’t let it happen again.

    These people collect all this free money for the government and use their welfare, LINKS, WIC cards to get pop, candy chips. I’ll use MY tax money to have those people who have 3 kids and on welfare to get their tubes tied!!!!! Instead of paying for their hospital bills. Same with all these people getting shot on the south and west side….do you think they have health insurance…..I bet you 90% don’t and we pay for their hospital visit when they are just going to go right back in

  • FR

    Curfews are UN-AMERICAN because they take away freedom of choice and/or presume guilt. Sure bad things can happen, but that is the price of living in a truly free country. You must deal with the problems AFTER they happen.

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