PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia appears poised to make the 10 p.m. curfew for those under 18 permanent, and there is talk of refining parents of children who break it. I have.
The city previously enforced the 10 p.m. midnight rule for most of the summer, but the previous law allowing curfews expired at the end of September.
Proponents of the curfew say it is intended to protect young people from shootings occurring at a historic frequency in the city.
However, experts who have studied curfews say they have little or no effect on crime or victimization rates. Police statistics show that more children were shot when curfews were imposed this summer than in any previous summer.
Members of the city council’s public safety committee approved the extension of the curfew after an hour-long hearing on Tuesday. The bill, defended by Congressman Catherine Gilmore Richardson, could pass the full Congress as early as next week. A spokesperson for Mayor Jim Kenny declined to say whether the mayor intends to sign the bill, saying only that he would “consider the bill if it passes.”
By law, teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17 must be home by 10pm and children under 13 by 9:30. There are some exceptions, such as children and teenagers who have a job or attend school or religious activities.
Police who take in a curfew violating child must first take the child home. If supervision is not available, police will take the child to the police district or one of the city’s new Community Evening Resource Centers.
Two centers, run by city-funded community groups, opened in January and offer programs for children from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
The city welfare department oversees the program. DHS Deputy Commissioner Gary D. Williams said the center testified that he had served more than 560 children since January, most of them voluntarily and for violating curfews. was not brought in by the police.
A police spokesperson said at least 85% of the more than 900 curfew violators since June have been brought home or picked up by family members.
Still, Gilmore Richardson defended the nighttime resource center, saying the city should aim to open one in each of the city’s six police stations. “I make no apologies for trying to do everything I can to help young people,” she said. “Whether they go to the center voluntarily or unconsciously, the point is … they are now in a safe place and have access to resources.”
Gilmore Richardson also proposed reinstating penalties for parents whose children violate curfews, but the bill passed by the commission on Tuesday does not include fines.
Until last year, a child or their parent could be fined $250 for the first stay-at-home order violation, and $300 to $500 thereafter. The council lifted the penalties last year amid concerns they disproportionately affect people living in poverty.
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Bilal Qayyum, a longtime gun violence prevention advocate, said Tuesday that he “strongly” supports penalties for parents whose children violate the city’s curfew, despite the controversy. testified that
“Parents should be fined if their child is picked up by the police after curfew hours,” he said. “If the parent is irresponsible, we have to hold the parent accountable. I know some people don’t want to hear that.
Alderman Jamie Gautier, who represents parts of West Philadelphia, expressed skepticism. He said he hopes the city will make a commitment to meet health needs.
“We tend to jump to penalties and punish people,” she said.
Given the council’s current composition, controversial provisions could face tough votes. Legislation must pass with her nine votes, which is a majority of the 17 council seats. But after a spate of resignations by lawmakers running for mayor, four seats remain vacant, and alderman Kenyatta Johnson has sat on trial for federal corruption charges for the past two weeks. I am absent.
This means legislation could pass with just four ‘No’ votes until the seats are filled after next month’s special election.
Staff writer Dylan Purcell contributed to this article. ___ (c) 2022 Philadelphia Inquirer Visit the Philadelphia Inquirer www.inquirer.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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