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10 PM Curfew for DC kids to Start Monday, July 31

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Mayor Anthony A. Williams announced that on Monday, July 31, an alternative curfew for young people 16 and younger will go into effect.


On July 21, the Council passed the Enhanced Crime Prevention and Abatement Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 giving the Mayor the authority to set alternative curfew hours. In amending the Mayor’s legislation, the Council set notification requirements that required that at least five days notice be given to Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and that public notification be made at least five days before the curfew goes into effect. Additionally, the Mayor is required to post the information on the website for the city and for the Metropolitan Police Department.


“Too often, young people are becoming involved in violent crimes,” said Mayor Williams. “This earlier curfew hour is necessary in order to protect them from becoming victims of crime or from becoming involved in crimes at night. Dozens of cities across the United States have similar curfews, ranging from Philadelphia and Denver to Santa Barbara and Cleveland. Curfews will keep our children safer, and encourage parents to take a stronger interest in the activities of their children and to take responsibility for their whereabouts.”


Beginning Monday, July 31, alternative curfew hours for young people 16 and younger will be set from 10 pm to 6 am every night of the week. These curfew hours will last for 30 consecutive days and expire on Wednesday, August 30 at 11:59 pm. After this date, curfew hours will revert to the hours currently in place pursuant to the Juvenile Curfew Act (midnight to 6 am) unless a subsequent Mayor’s Order is issued to extend the 30-day period.


Mayor Williams’ emergency anti-crime legislation centers on authorizing MPD Chief Charles Ramsey to deploy officers on a six-day work week. The extra manpower means at least 300 more uniformed officers on the streets. The plan also provided the Mayor with the authority to modify curfew time, and it authorized the expansion of closed circuit television cameras to be used in some neighborhoods for both crime prevention and investigation.


“While a curfew is no panacea, it’s an important way to help our police keep the streets safe,” said Mayor Williams.


Below are some frequently-asked questions and answers:


Does the curfew law apply to non-District residents?

Yes. The curfew law applies to all persons 16 and younger who are in the District of Columbia during curfew hours. This includes both District residents as well as young people who reside elsewhere.


How will the law be enforced?

Anyone 16 and younger who violates curfew will be detained by the Metropolitan Police Department. In most cases, the juvenile will be taken to one of two Curfew Centers operated by the DC government:


Choice Academy at Douglass Senior High School

2600 Douglass Place, SE


Shaw Junior High School

10th and R Streets, NW

A parent, legal guardian, or other responsible adult will be contacted to pick the child up immediately. If not picked up by 6 am, the juvenile will be handed over to the DC Child and Family Services Agency. Juveniles age 12 and younger who are picked up on curfew violations will immediately be turned over to the CFSA.


What are the penalties for violating the law?

A parent or legal guardian of a juvenile 16 and younger commits an offense if he or she knowingly permits, or by insufficient control allows, the minor to violate the curfew law. Any adult who violates the Juvenile Curfew Act is subject to a fine not to exceed $500 or community service. A minor who violates curfew may be ordered to perform up to 25 hours of community service.


Persons 16 and younger are exempt from curfew if they:


Accompany a parent or guardian or any person age 21 or older


Complete an errand at the direction of a parent or guardian, without detour or stop


Ride in a motor vehicle involved in interstate travel


Work or return home from a job, without detour or stop


Become involved in an emergency


Stand on a sidewalk that joins their residence or the residence of a next-door neighbor, if the neighbor did not complain to police


Attend an official school, religious, or other recreational activity sponsored by the District of Columbia, a civic organization, or other similar group that takes responsibility for the juvenile (this includes traveling to and from the activity)


Exercise their First Amendment rights protected by the US Constitution, including the free exercise of speech, religion, and right of assembly


What alternative programs are there for young people?


The District of Columbia has a variety of programs and centers that serve young people seeking alternatives to being on the streets, including social, educational, recreational, and counseling services. For more programs, call the District's Answers Please! helpline at (202) INFO-211 (463-6211).

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