Dallas Council Delays Underage Daytime Curfew Vote
Parents and teenagers filled a Dallas City Council committee session to get their voices heard on a proposed daytime curfew for kids and the debate got pretty heated.
Currently the City of Dallas has a curfew ordinance for children and in an effort to fight crime; leaders want to extend it to include daylight hours.
The curfew proposal would allow Dallas police to pickup school age children, between the ages of 10 and 16 years old, who are out on the streets between the hours of 9 am and 2:30pm – Monday through Friday. Both parents and children could be issued a fine of up to $500.
On any given day, it isn’t hard to find teenagers on the streets of Dallas…when most should probably be in school.
The city council, with data from the Dallas Police Department, has tied a disproportionate number of daytime residential burglaries, and thefts, to underage suspects. In 2008, juveniles made up 22% of all burglary arrests in Dallas. “This ordinance is designed to change behavior,” explained Dallas City Council member Vonciel Hill. “This is an intervention tool.”
Wednesday afternoon the battle over extending the underage curfew to daylight hours extended into the city council meeting, with voices on both sides.
“This ordinance is not the solution to the truancy problem in the City of Dallas,” said Amelia Perez, who opposes the curfew extension. “As our elected leaders I know you all can do better.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas is against the daytime curfew claiming; the curfews are laws that criminalize youthful behavior.
“We have to do something. And what you all are saying, in one sense of the word, is just do nothing!” city council member Dwaine Caraway said emphatically.
The city’s current curfew runs Sunday through Thursday from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. On Friday and Saturday, the curfew starts just after midnight to 6 a.m.
The city council pushed the daytime curfew vote to another meeting in May.