By Patty Montagno
Parents and teens take note – Sachse has a juvenile curfew.
“Per city ordinance, anyone under the age of 17 years commits an offense if they are ‘about or upon any public place or in the premises of any establishment within the city during curfew hours,’” Lt. Marty Cassidy said.
Curfew hours are 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. of the following day from Sunday to Thursday and 12:01 a.m. to 6 a.m. on any Saturday or Sunday.
City ordinance also establishes a park curfew that states “persons shall not be allowed in, on, about or around a public park and/or facility between curfew of 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weeknights and midnight to 6 a.m. on weekends.
No exceptions are allowed without written permission from the Parks and Recreation Commission.
“In 1995, the city adopted an ordinance which established a juvenile curfew which was reviewed and adopted without change in 1998 and 2001,” Cassidy said. “This ordinance was first adopted as a protective solution to preventing juvenile crime. It also helps to discourage an environment for juveniles to ‘hang out’ as all surrounding cities have a juvenile curfew ordinance in effect.
It appears to cover most of the possible exception scenarios, said the lieutenant, and it has stood the test of time and it seems necessary due to the existence of similar ordinances in surrounding municipalities.
Mayor Mike Felix said since all of the surrounding cities have a curfew, if Sachse didn’t have one, it would be like opening the doors to all the juveniles in the area.
“Summertime is always an active time for the Sachse Police Department,” he said. “The juvenile curfew was implemented to deter young people from congregating in public after hours – which is typically most problematic when school is out of session.”
Cassidy said juveniles or anyone for that matter should pull over in a lighted area before being stopped and question by a police officer.
“If anyone is afraid they should call dispatch and drive to the police station,” he said.
Councilman Cullen King said although he believes the parents have the primary responsibility of setting rules for their children, this ordinance gives the parents guidelines when those rules are established and enforced.
According to a recent study authorized by the United States Conference of Mayors, over 70 percent of the nation’s largest communities have juvenile curfew ordinances.
“I believe communities should take actions to protect our children from becoming a perpetrator or a victim of a crime,” Felix said. “By keeping children off the streets at night it is hoped they will refrain from committing a crime and will avoid being the target of criminal acts.”
Cassidy said he believes that curfews would help keep kids off the streets whether by personal decision or parental edict.
“It should also reduce victimization, by keeping youth ‘out of harm’s way’ during
nighttime hours,” he said.
Like many other cities, Sachse’s curfew ordinance provides exemptions for youth who are going to or from a school, religious, or civic-sponsored event. Youth traveling from places of employment or responding to emergencies often are excluded from curfew provisions as well. Several ordinances allow unrestricted mobility for youth who are married, accompanied by an adult, or traveling with a parent’s permission.