Philly teens’ summer curfew could soon be permanent

Philadelphia City Hall.

Philadelphia City Hall (Mark Henninger/Imagic Digital)

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In an effort to help keep teens in Philadelphia safe, City Council is moving ahead with a bill to extend the summertime curfew permanently.

Council’s Committee on Public Safety approved keeping the curfew at 9:30 p.m. for those 13 and under and 10 p.m. for those 14 and up. Before this summer, the 10 p.m. limit only applied to kids as old as 15.

Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson said keeping young people inside late at night is key to keeping them safe. “We are utilizing another tool in our toolbox, to seek to help our young people in addition to the further expansion of the community evening resources centers,” she said.

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There are some exceptions. Teens are allowed outside if they’re accompanied by a parent and if they’re doing an errand or legitimate business that’s been directed by a parent, or if they’re engaged in employment.

A total of four resource centers will be open by the end of the month where teens who violate the curfew will be taken. Gilmore-Richardson was not apologetic about the fact that the first two centers have only serviced about 500 youths since opening in the beginning of the year.

“The point is that we have serviced 500 young people in the community. I know that it will continue to serve more,” she said. “So whether they go voluntarily or involuntarily, they are now in a safe space and have access to resources while they are at that center.”

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Bilal Qayyum, an anti-violence activist suggested taking an old-school approach to curfew violators, saying parents should be fined.

“I think that parent needs to be financially held responsible, and I’m not suggesting what a fee should be, but I think there should be a fee imposed as part of the effort to get kids off the streets,” Qayyum said.

The bill moves forward, but the suggestion of fines was put on hold for now.

Now the full City Council will consider the legislation and if approved, it will go to Mayor Jim Kenney for his signature.

If you or someone you know has been affected by gun violence in Philadelphia, you can find grief support and resources here.

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