Mayor Michael A. Nutter proposed legislation to extend and expand the City of Philadelphia’s curfew for minors as part of a coordinated response to “flash mobs” and teen violence, including more enforcement and sustainable, positive opportunities for young people.
“ Today, legislation was introduced by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown to tackle this issue city-wide because we know the strategy we have implemented in Center City and University City is effective,” said Mayor Nutter. “I thank Councilwoman Reynolds Brown for her leadership on this issue and her willingness to sponsor this important bill on behalf of Philadelphia’s families.”
With the introduction of the proposed curfew bill, the Administration seeks to provide the Philadelphia Police with an important tool to prevent youth violence. The bill lowers the current curfew time and simplifies the current curfew scheme by imposing standard times for the school year and extending the curfew by one hour during the summer months. In the proposed bill, the curfew will be the same time seven days a week from September to June. Likewise, for seven days a week in the summer the curfew will be the same – just one hour later than the school year curfew.
The current bill takes differences between age groups into consideration by allowing for older teens to stay out longer than younger teens. Those aged 13 and younger need to be home by 8:00 pm during the school year and 9:00 pm during the summer. Teens aged 14-15 need to be home by 9:00 pm during the school year and 10:00 pm during the summer. Older teens aged 16-17 need to be home at 10:00 pm during the school year and 11:00 pm in the summer.
“We began the process this summer by addressing the problem of flash-mobs in targeted areas by placing emphasis on geographic locations where the violence was occurring, but we heard loud and clear from the public that this approach needed to be applied across the city, and that’s what we’re doing,” said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everett Gillison.
“The City will continue to offer expanded hours at selected recreation centers on Friday and Saturday nights, and we’re working with the Youth Commission to plan more activities and programming for next summer, but we wanted to do introduce this bill now because we know that the legislative process takes time. In the interim, the Mayor’s orders will be extended and we will continue the targeted-area approach until this legislation becomes law with the help of City Council.”
Previously, Mayor Nutter signed an executive order to establish an earlier curfew at 9:00 pm every day for all minors under the age of 18 in targeted enforcement districts in Center City and University City. Throughout the remainder of the City, the curfew is 10:30 pm for minors under the age of 13 and 12:00 am for minors under the age of 18.
“Cutting crime amongst minors is going take the involvement of the government, parents and faith-based organizations. Can we legislate good parenting? Probably not, but when government can step in, we should step in and consider preventive measures to help parents realize that they have an enormous responsibility. There is no silver bullet to resolve this complicated matter impacting children and youth,” said Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.
The bill also increases the penalties for parents whose children are in violation of the curfew and imposes parental liability for the criminal acts committed by children. Minors who are caught breaking curfew will be sent home, brought home or transported to a police station where their parents will be contacted and issued a fine of $75 within ten days. The penalties for violation of the curfew will not exceed $500.
If parents do not get their child within a reasonable time, the PPD will contact the Department of Human Services (DHS) to initiate an investigation. If a child is found liable or guilty by a court for injury, theft or other criminal acts, the parents will be liable to the person who suffered the injury or loss of property.
“To be clear: this is not a revenue bill; we don’t want to fine people. We want to ensure that parents are taking responsibility for their children, that’s the key,” added Mayor Nutter. “I have been encouraged by the public response over the last few weeks; Philadelphia’s parents have really stepped up and we want to build on that progress. This is not just about policing, this is about a comprehensive community approach and this bill is one piece of that puzzle.”
In addition to the new curfew, the Administration is continuing with the “iPledge” campaign, which seeks to engage the community in providing structure and resources to youth in their neighborhoods. Also, in the weeks to come the Mayor will announce additional holistic measures calling upon community partnerships and the Youth Commission to provide meaningful and safe venues for Philadelphia’s youth. The PPD will also continue their increased presence in the targeted enforcement areas, which will include the Mounted Unit, Bike Patrol and other officers.
The eight recreation centers with extended hours to 10:00 PM on Friday and Saturday nights are the following:
|Vare Recreation Center||2600 Morris Street|
|Myers Recreation Center||5800 Kingsessing Avenue|
|Kingsessing Recreation Center||5000 Chester Avenue|
|Shepard Recreation Center||5700 Haverford Avenue|
|Athletic Recreation Center||1401-27 North 27th Street|
|McVeigh Recreation Center||400-64 D Street|
|Feltonville Recreation Center||231-31 E. Wyoming Avenue|
|Lonnie Young Recreation Center||1100 E. Chelten Avenue|