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Monday, June 13, 2011

School might be out for the summer but curfews are in full effect

The City of Atlanta has says it will enforce its longstanding teen curfew ordinance beginning this summer after some prompting from Mayor Kasim Reed.

The mayor, in conjunction with Atlanta Police Chief George Turner, Parks Commissioner George Dusenbury and MARTA General Manager and CEO Beverly Scott, have tied the ordinance into the city's Summer Safety Initiative which provides activities at local parks and pools (Further details of the activities can be found here).

As a result, the Atlanta Police Department will be increasing its presence at the city parks and pools while also enforcing the curfew ordinance.

The ordinance prohibits anyone younger than 17 from being outside their homes without an adult from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays, the curfew is from midnight to 6 a.m.

The first violation warrants a warning while parents could face up to a $1,000 fine and 60 days in jail for a second violation.

Atlanta Police Chief George Turner says the ordinance and the initiative is necessary to keep kids from getting in trouble in the future.

"It’s imperative that city facilities be considered a safe destination for children at all times, but especially during the summer months when they’re out of school,” Turner said. “We also know that children who spend their time constructively in organized activities with adult supervision will be less likely to have negative encounters with our officers later in life.”

According to Atlanta Police Department data, juvenile arrests typically spike in April, July, August and November.

APD plans to patrol all city parks 24 hours day and visit park managers to offer assistance. Officers will also conduct curfew patrols at parks, movie theaters, skating rinks and apartment complexes.

Curfew patrols will also partner with the MARTA Police, which has also recently announced its own safety initiatives. MARTA plans to expand bus and train patrols as well as introduce more K-9 units.

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