Mobile's Juvenile Curfew


Dear Citizens:

Our citizens, especially the children, are among the city’s most valued assets. Therefore, it is extremely important that we do all we can to insure the safety and well-being of our entire populace. The city’s new Juvenile Curfew is not a tool to randomly arrest youngsters, but a process that will protect them. In addition, it will also make parents, guardians and adults more accountable for their children.

Like many cities throughout the country, Mobile has seen a surge in juvenile violence. We feel the Juvenile Curfew is a proactive measure that will address many of the issues we see that are hampering our children’s future and giving the city a tainted image.

We have received a tremendous amount of support and feedback from citizens who share my concern. Please know that we value your input and appreciate your efforts. Together, we can build a better future for our children and the city.


Sincerely,

Samuel L. Jones
Mayor



CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE ORDINANCE.

The curfew basically restricts juveniles under the age of 17 for the citywide curfew; and under 18 for the downtown curfew from gathering and roaming in public places and streets during the following times:


Curfew

Start
End
Effective
Citywide Weekday Night-time Curfew
(Sunday - Thursday nights)

11 p.m.
6 p.m.
November 1
Citywide Weekend Night-time Curfew
(Friday – Saturday nights)

12:01 a.m.
6 a.m.
November 1
Downtown Curfew
(CLICK HERE FOR MAP)

10 p.m.
5 a.m.
Now
Citywide Daytime Curfew
(Monday – Friday public school session)
9 a.m.
2:30 p.m.
January 1, 2012


The curfew ordinance includes a list of exemptions for which it would not restrict juveniles’ movement during certain sections of or the entire curfew ordinance.



Updated curfew violation totals and how each case was resolved (From inception - June 5):


COUNT RELEASED TO:
16 SELF (with citation)
172 SELF (with warning)
1 DHR-LIAISON (with warning)
4 GRANDMOTHER (with warning)
11 LEGAL GUARDIAN (with warning)
3 AUNT (with warning)
7 FATHER (with warning)
35 MOTHER (with warning)
1 ADULT (with citation)
39 ADULT (with warning)
1 SISTER (with warning)


How does the curfew work?

The Police WOULD NOT be involved in routinely gathering up of juveniles for the sake of enforcing the curfew ordinance. Instead the new law would give the Police “probable cause” for enforcement and the DISCRETION tool when encountering suspicious or dangerous behavior, either on patrol or when responding to a citizen’s complaint. Police would confront the juvenile due to suspicious, menacing or violent behavior. Those juveniles would be asked to give their age and purpose for being in a public place. If they are under 17 (or under 18 in downtown) and the purpose for being out is not exempt, the juvenile would be advised of the curfew and instructed to return home. If the juvenile complies, no action is taken. If the juvenile is stopped by Police with no defined purpose or parental authorization, the parent, guardian or authorized adult is called. The juvenile is then released to them with only a verbal warning. If non-compliance to the curfew persist and no adult is located, the juvenile is either taken to the Curfew Assessment Center at St. Anthony/Broad streets (CLICK HERE for map) (for no more than 3 hours) where several things could happen: the Alabama Department of Human Resources is requested; Enforcement of the ordinance against a parent, guardian or against an owner, operator or employee of a business by the issuance of Uniform Non-traffic Citation, enforceable in Mobile Municipal Court. Please note that juveniles who commit criminal acts will be transported by the Police to Strickland Youth Center.


Exemptions
• When accompanied by a parent, guardian or authorized adult;
• When accompanied by another adult authorized by parent or guardian for a specific purpose;
• When on an errand, approved by parent, guardian or authorized adult;
• To and from employment;
• In an emergency;
• Prom, sporting events, religion-related activities, school related events, all approved by parent, guardian or authorized adult;
• When on the property/sidewalk where the minor lives. Next door neighbor’s home if no complaints registered due to minor’s presence;


Penalties

A curfew violation would be a status violation punishable by a fine of a $100 for the first offense and up to $500 for the second offense (and all subsequent violations) within one year or by imprisonment of up to six months; or both fine and imprisonment. Please note that the parent, guardian or authorized adult are the ones liable for the fine and imprisonment.

An owner or operator of an establishment commits an offense if he or she knowingly allows a juvenile to remain on the premises of the establishment within curfew hours. Any owner or operator of an establishment not exempted under the curfew, after repeated verbal warnings, will be subject to a $100 fine for the first offense and up to $500 for the second (and subsequent) offenses.



Meet the FIT Members

The City of Mobile Family Intervention Team (FIT) will be in charge of the curfew center. They are responsible for processing the curfew violator and taking action against parents or businesses as specified above. FIT members include: (front row, left to right) Supervisor Sergeant Zandra Thornton-Jackson, Meosha Martin, Gloria Hill, Iris Smith, (back row, left to right) Patrick Kidd, Johnnie Franklin, Wilmer Sigler, and Donald Scott.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why penalize good children because of the actions of a few bad children?

The intent of the curfew ordinance is not to penalize juveniles, but to prevent unlawful behavior and to safeguard law-abiding juveniles. We know that the majority of juveniles in our community are responsible members of society. That is why the Mayor/City Council included a list of exemptions to the curfew ordinance. As designed, the ordinance will have minimum impact on juveniles who are not causing any trouble. The curfew ordinance purpose is to protect you and adults from becoming victims of crime, as well as, give the Police probable cause to prevent crimes committed by juveniles.


Will juveniles be allowed to work past curfew hours?

Of course. If your job requires you to work past curfew hours, you are exempt from the ordinance. However, please note that once your shift ends, you are expected to return directly home without making any stops along the way.


Will juveniles still be able to go to late-night movies?

Yes, as long as a parent, guardian or authorized adult are present or have given consent. The curfew ordinance exempts juveniles attending such activities as the Prom, sporting events, school and religion-related events, etc.


Will the curfew allow the Police to racially profile juveniles?

The Police would not be stopping juveniles based upon race. Their focus will solely be on juveniles who are in a particular situation that appears threatening, disruptive or criminal. Their response would be based on activity, not race.



FOR BUSINESS OWNERS

Can businesses provide goods and services to juveniles past the curfew?

Businesses should support the curfew by not allowing their establishment or property to become a gathering place for groups of juveniles who potentially could cause problems. There are some exemptions in the curfew ordinance that would allow juveniles on the premises. However, business owners not exempted from the curfew are obligated to reasonably uphold the curfew. A business owner could be held legally accountable for knowingly providing a location for an unruly group of juveniles to gather during curfew hours.


Can my business hire a juvenile when I know that their shift goes beyond the curfew?

Yes. Juveniles with jobs are exempt from the curfew. However, when shift ends, they are expected to go home.


For more information, Call the Curfew Assessment Center at (251) 208-6141.

If you have any other questions, send an email to buck@cityofmobile.org.