Charlotte Mayor / Council Approve Changes to Curfew Ordinance

From WBTV, November 29, 2011

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – The mayor and Charlotte city council approved a new teen curfew.

It goes into effect in just two and a half weeks.

Police say this will help them protect teenagers and keep things under control at events like First Night and the 4th of July.

When thousands head for Center City for next month’s First Night a new law will be on the books for the City of Charlotte.

Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon supported the new ordinance.

He said, “We allow this ordinance to become effective on December 15th 2011.

Charlotte is moving to what’s been carried out in other cities.

It is a system known as tiered curfews.

Under the approved changes anyone under the age of 12 isn’t allowed without a guardian between the hours of 10 at night until six in the morning, and that same kind of supervision applies to youths between the ages of 13 to 15 between the hours of 11 at night until six in the morning.

And this new law passed by council has a different twist.

“As well as increasing the age of the adult responsible for the juvenile to 21,” Cannon said.

It is currently 18, and the focus will be directed at large scale community events, according to Major Vicki Foster of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department

“New Years Eve, big events downtown during the summer, “she said.  “Is when we usually use it the most.

Even with its passage, Mayor Anthony Foxx worries that it could fall short.

“I’m gonna continue prodding us, and there’s a lot feeling around the dais that there is more to this than expanding an ordinance, “Foxx said.

State Law Prevents City from Enforcing Curfew for Older Teens

Cannon was hoping revisions in the curfew ordinance would target teens 16 and 17 years old.But he says state law ties the city’s hands.

Cannon notes that North Carolina views teens starting at age 15 as an adult. “So with that being the case as well as the courts not having the resources monetarily to support such a program, we won’t be able to move forward,” Cannon said.

Last year, arrests reports showed nearly 170 sixteen and seventeen year olds were arrested late at night. And just this past weekend, several teens that age were arrested for various crimes like larceny and drinking.

“My wish would be that the delegation would take the bull by the horns and go forward on the state level and change the laws so we can have some flexibility in Mecklenburg County, here in this region,” Cannon said.

Cannon says the goal is to keep kids from putting themselves in harms way or becoming a victim to someone else. At the same time, still letting a kid be a kid.

“We are only one of three states in the country that has it set up to where we can’t protect our youth..and that’s a problem,” Cannon said.

Besides tightening the curfew time for young teens, the city will also look at upping the age of the adult a teen can be with when they are out past curfew. Currently it’s 18 years old. It could be raised to 21.

If the council gives the green light on these changes, the new rules could go into effect immediately.

Currently, if the curfew is violated parents will be cited and required to go to court. Even worse, if your child commits a crime, parents can be charged.

If you are cited, you can opt to take parenting class–but it will cost you $75 dollars.

Published in: on November 29, 2011 at 1:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

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