As crime skyrockets, Philly looks to make permanent 10 pm curfew for teens under 18

In an effort to clamp down on out-of-control crime in Philadelphia, the city council passed a bill on Thursday, voting 15-1 to make a summertime curfew permanent for teens under the age of 18 with a few exceptions.

(Video Credit: CBS Philadelphia)

The bill will now head to Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney for approval. It’s unknown what his decision will be but many believe he will sign it into law given the cesspool of crime the city has become. A spokesperson for the mayor’s office says the bill is under review.

Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson is the one who proposed the legislation, according to CBS News. She is a mother herself and asserts that the move is preventative, not punitive. She claims that her goal is to protect Philly’s young people who frequently fall victim to the city’s violence.

“There are too many young people who have been involved in crime or criminal incidents simply because they have been out late at night,” she asserted.

“I’m not going to apologize for seeking to do all that I can to help our young people,” Gilmore Richardson said.

The bill requires that teens under the age of 18 must be home by 10 pm, whether school is in session or not. Exceptions will be made if the teen is with a parent or is traveling to and from work. Other exceptions include attending school or religious activities or hanging outside on their home’s stoop or sidewalk.

“When a kid gets picked up for violating curfew the first step is to try to reunify them with their family. If that’s unable to happen, then we’ll take them to a community resource evening center if they are close. If not, they go to the police district,” she elaborated.

Curfew centers would have expanded hours via the bill and will stay open through 2 am. The legislation also includes expanded reporting from Philadelphia police on its enforcement of the curfew.

“A young person can show their ID, not many young people have an ID card,” Gilmore Richardson commented, “so maybe they have a school ID card.”

Retired Philadelphia warrant unit sergeant Mark Fussetti is arguing that the move puts officers further at risk. That’s on top of staffing issues and the heavy scrutiny police come under for every move they make these days.

“We can’t just stop anyone for any reason anymore,” Fusetti pointed out. “How are we going to determine a 15-year-old and a 20-year-old, or a 20-year-old who looks 15? Officers are going to hesitate because this is another chance for them to get in trouble.”

Philadelphia has instituted a youth curfew for decades. But experts who study curfews say they have little to no impact on juvenile crime or victimization rates, according to the Philadephia Inquirer.

The media outlet also noted, “And while the 10 p.m. curfew was in place over the summer, more children were shot than during any other summer on record, according to police statistics. Data show that, since 2015, just over a quarter of juvenile shooting victims were struck in the overnight hours from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The vast majority were injured in the hours before curfew.”

Councilmember David Oh was the sole vote against the bill. He stated that the city already has a curfew that is not well-enforced. Requiring an already short-staffed police force to transport kids who might not be causing trouble home is a waste of resources, according to the council member.

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