Delaware’s curfew law put to test

Wilmington Police detained two dozen teens and tweens over the weekend, ranging in age from 12 to 17, for hanging out past the city’s curfew. 

It all started when police were called to the area of 13th and Scott Streets, late Saturday night, for a reported robbery. The 60-year old victim says four kids demanded money from him while he was walking in the 1300 block of North Scott Street. After refusing twice, the man says he was then assaulted.

Officers investigating the incident determined the kids had left a party in the area, and called on curfew officers to respond. When they arrived, they detained 24 juveniles, who, police say, were loitering unsupervised. Four parents took custody of their children on scene, while the remaining kids were taken to the city curfew center at the Walnut Street YMCA. Of the 24 curfew violators, police say only one was a repeat violator and was issued a summons.

The curfew center at the Walnut Street Y offers the after hours program in hopes of keeping kids under the age of 18 off the streets at times when they might otherwise be vulnerable to criminal behavior. The program works hand-in-hand with Wilmington’s nighttime curfew. The curfew forbids all minors, between the ages of 13 and 18, from being in public places or any establishments between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays; on Fridays and Saturdays, the window is from midnight to 6:00 a.m. Earlier curfews apply to children under the age of 12.

The city’s curfew law does not apply to children who are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or to kids who are lawfully and gainfully employed.

Violators are subject to fines of up to $500 and possibly jail time. The city says repeat offenders face stiffer penalties.

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