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New Curfew Begins Sunday, Emanuel Reminds Parents

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Mayor Emanuel's Curfew Reminder

Mayor Rahm Emanuel distributes information about the new, earlier curfew to commuters at the Wilson ‘L’ stop in Uptown. (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 09/16/11 11:29 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s new, earlier curfew goes into effect Sunday, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel is reminding families about the move to keep children safe.

As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, Mayor Emanuel joined members of the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy at the Wilson Red Line ‘L’ stop in the Uptown neighborhood Friday, to distribute information about the earlier curfew.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

Under the new curfew, minors under 12 must be in by 8:30 p.m. weekdays and by 9 p.m. on weekends.

Currently, all minors under 17 have curfews of 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends. Minors between the ages of 12 through 16 will still be subject to these curfews, according to the Chicago Police Department.

Violators are subject to a fine of up to $500 or community service, according to the mayor’s office. Three offenses in a twelve-month period shall be subject to up to $1,500 in addition to community service.

“This is really a parental responsibility. It’s not about enforcing a curfew. It’s about parents enforcing a curfew, and they have to know the strict policy here for the city,” Mayor Emanuel said.

The earlier curfew also seemed to be popular among neighbors.

“I actually think it’s a good idea, because I just think in general, not a lot of good can happen after hours, dark, with kids out in the streets,” said Barbara Duwe of Chicago.

Ald. James Cappleman (46th), whose ward includes most of the Uptown neighborhood, said the earlier curfew would mean safer streets.

“The parents – we are asking them to join us in promoting more safety in this area,” Cappleman said.

The mayor was asked if the fines for curfew violations, which would be assessed against parents, are too steep.

“Have you ever seen the steep fine of a child – a victim of gun violence? That’s a steep fine,” he said.

To drive home the point about the curfew, Mayor Emanuel is running a public service announcement on CBS 2 and other local media outlets through the weekend.

“Curfews are in place to help protect our children, and police will be out enforcing the law,” Emanuel says in the announcement. “But we need your help. Parents and neighbors, we need your help protecting our children by making sure they are home safe where they belong.”

In recent months, police have stepped up enforcement of curfew restrictions, even though the new curfew has yet to take effect.

“It’s been reported – rightfully so – that curfew enforcement is down in 2011,” police Supt. Garry McCarthy said on WBBM Newsradio’s “At Issue” program July 29. “However, it’s up dramatically in the last month. We’ve got more than 800 more curfew enforcement actions this year than we did last year, in the last month.”

The number of officer-written curfew violations went from 23,275 in 2009 – when the city moved up the curfew time by half an hour – to 19,555 last year. In the first half of 2011, before McCarthy instituted the new push, there were 8,398 curfew violations.

Information on the new curfew is also available on the mayor’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

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