A new city program to better enforce curfew laws for minors and urge parents to know the whereabouts of their children won’t include an earlier curfew.
Police Chief Rod Foley said Friday that the current curfew times — 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. — for those under age 18 who aren’t accompanied by a parent or guardian is appropriate.
Mayor Charles Sammarone, who wanted to start the curfew earlier, said he is deferring to Foley’s decision. But, he said, the option to change it exists.
Beginning in mid-May, officers will enforce the curfew law better, primarily through specific curfew patrols, Foley said.
Officers often don’t have the time to ticket curfew violators and make sure they get home because sometimes that can take hours and keep police from investigating more serious crime, he said.
To help make sure minors are off the street during curfew hours, officers will turn to the Daybreak Youth Crisis Center on the South Side and other youth agencies.
Officers can take curfew violators to those agencies with staff there calling parents and guardians to pick up the minors, Foley said.
Daybreak operates around the clock and will contact parents to pick up their children, said Ed Bunkley, its program coordinator. “I just want to help children,” he said.
Mayor Charles Sammarone, who created the campaign, called “Do You Know Where Your Children Are?” said much of the responsibility of children breaking curfew lies with their parents.
“You need to know who they’re with and what they’re doing to move them in the right direction,” he said. “Parents play a key role.”