Council bill seeks stiffer curfew fines

Posted: September 22, 2011

PARENTS would face steeper fines if their children are caught violating curfew under a bill to be introduced in City Council today in response to problems with groups of violent youths wreaking havoc around the city.

Parents would be fined $75 if their child is caught violating curfew, up from $25, according to the bill to be introduced by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown on behalf of the Nutter administration. The maximum penalty would be $500.

Under the legislation, curfews would be the same seven days a week - there would no longer be later curfew on the weekends - and would be split into three age-group categories instead of two.

The curfew would be 8 p.m. for children 13 and younger, 9 p.m. for those ages 14 and 15, and 10 p.m. for teens 16 and 17. The curfew lasts until 6 a.m. for all public places and establishments unless the child is accompanied by a parent, running an errand or working. During the summer the curfew would be an hour later.

Additionally, if parents do not retrieve their children within a reasonable time, the Police Department would contact the Department of Human Services to initiate an investigation. If a child is found guilty of a crime, the parent would be liable to the victim who suffered injury or loss of property.

"Parents have to stay on top of what their children are doing," Brown said. "If they don't, the government will have to."

The city began enforcing stricter curfews last month in University City and Center City and stepped up police enforcement in response to an uptick in violence.

"It will create a broad context for teenage behavior, and it by itself is not the only solution," mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald said of the curfew changes. "This is a part of the solution."

In other news, Councilman Jim Kenney will introduce a bill to make personal information found in police motor-vehicleaccident reports confidential for 60 days to protect victims. Such personal information includes names, phone numbers, addresses and insurance information. Additionally, a copy of the police report will be $25.

As of now, Kenney said, anyone can pay an annual fee to the Records Department for complete access to the police reports, creating an opportunity for companies that "misrepresent themselves" and pester victims about medical and legal representation.

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