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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chicago Council OKs Earlier Curfew

How was it when you were young?

Hey folks,



OK, we're back. I have an honest question for ya. Like him or not, and you all KNOW I'm far from a fan, the New Mayor of Chicago has imposed an enforceable, chargeable, and ticketable Curfew for Kids under 12. It's 8:30 pm on Week Days, and 9 pm on Week Ends. Not sure what the extra half hour is about, but it all begins on Sept 18th.

Now you all know I have SERIOUS issues with Ex Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, but I'm not so sure that I am not willing to give him Kudos for this one. But then again, is this Government Intrusion? See where I'm torn here? Not with Emanuel, but the Policy itself.

OK, I've told this story over the years. Sorry if you heard it before but I love visiting the Past, so forgive me. I grew up in a small Town, a Hamlet really, called Salisbury Mills NY. It was truly the best time of my life growing up until about 13 years old. Me and my Friend Billy, would be out all day until Dinner time. In the Summer, we would go out again until bath and bed time. Never once did anyone worry that we would not be coming home. Not once did the thought ever cross our mind that someone out there may be looking to do us harm. We would walk down to "The Store" {Shown in the Picture} and buy ice cream, candy, and soda. When the Fireman Fair was going in July, we would go there until it closed at 11pm and then ride our bikes back. I do not even know if my Grandmother HAD locks on her doors.

I remember being at The Store when people would pull up and get out, go in, get their stuff, the Car running the whole time. I remember playing WAR through town. Me and Billy would run around with BB Guns and pretend that the Headlights of the Cars were the Enemy coming to get us. I remember one time being scolded by a very nice but annoyed Police Officer. {Smile} We use to do the Knock and Run game. All kinds of stuff. I know. I know. It was a different time back then.

Now a days, we DO have to worry about it. With stories of people like Leiby Kletzky, Jaycee Lee Dugard, Sarah Maynard, and others not as famous, we HAVE to keep the thought of this possibility in the back of our Minds at ALL time. So Emanuel comes out and says this.

“I grew up with a curfew,” Emanuel said earlier this week. “When the lights on the street went on, you took your tail and made it home and in the house. And that’s what I believe is the right policy for the safety and security of our kids.

“It doesn’t mean that, because you have, kids are gonna be safe. But it means that we’re aligning good parenting and the laws of the city to make sure that our children are gonna be safe.”

McCarthy said he gets daily briefings on every shooting in the city. When young people are involved, the first question is about curfew.

“As soon as a 15-year-old is shot at 12 o’clock at night, I turn right to Ernie Brown, who is deputy superintendent of patrol, and I say, `I want to know what the curfew numbers are in this location in this district?’ “ McCarthy said.

Informed that the number of curfew citations issued by Chicago Police have been dropping steadily in recent years, McCarthy said, “I have to get tough on my commanders to make sure that they’re doing curfew so we don’t have young people getting shot late at night.”

Two years ago, then-Mayor Richard M. Daley turned back the curfew clock by 30 minutes--to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends for Chicago’s 730,000 kids under the age of 17. The curfew is currently the same for younger kids.

The ordinance approved at Thursday’s City Council meeting will do it again, but only for children under 12. Beginning Sept. 18, they will have to be in the house or in their front or back yards by 8:30 p.m. on weekdays and 9 p.m. on weekends.

Parents or guardians who ignore the new law could be saddled with either community service or a $500 fine for the first two offenses and $1,500 for three or more violations over 12 months.

Those penalties could e imposed if, “by insufficient control,” they allow their kids under 12 to be out after those hours, the ordinance states. The wording is designed to prevent parents from escaping responsibility by claiming they didn’t know their children’s whereabouts, officials said.

Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields called the ordinance a sad commentary on “the society we live in.”
I do agree with that. So does a Facebook Friend who said this.

Laws like this always make me sad. The parents who created an environment where little kids under 12 could go out after dark in rough neighborhoods are not going to magically become non-neglectful just because of this law. The kids will still be unsafe, because the parents have already demonstrated that they don't care about their whereabouts.
She doesn't feel that the Fines or the threat of Community Service will not help.

Fines won't work because most are too poor to pay them, and community service for the parents might result in the kids being kept home alone.
I couldn't agree more with Anne Marie if I had said it myself. The story goes on.

“We have to make laws to tell parents their children should be in at night….That’s something parents ought to know, but they don’t and it’s a shame,” Shields said.

“A few days ago, a kid pulled a bb-gun out at a police officer. What we’re not talking about is this was 11 o’clock at night and he’s 13-years-old. Shame on that parent for having that 13-year-old out at that time of night.”

But, after a two-year hiring slowdown that has created a severe manpower shortage, Shields said the latest curfew crackdown is more symbolic than real.

“It’s not going to be enforceable. If we can’t enforce laws to curb street violence because of manpower issues, how can we enforce [and even stricter] curfew law?” he said.

Former Police Committee Chairman Anthony Beale (9th) has warned that the new ordinance would overburden police and “penalize our children for enjoying the summer months.”

But Chief Assistant Corporation Counsel Jeff Levine has stressed that parents or guardians could escape liability if the minor is on the sidewalk in front of their own or a neighbor’s house.

He has also noted that citations would not be written until police officers ask questions about the minor’s age and reason for being out on the street.

“In a situation where a minor is biking up and down, essentially on their own block, the officer would have the tools under this ordinance to conclude that it is not a curfew violation,” Levine assured aldermen last week.
So OK. You have what appears to be a LOGICAL and REASONABLE approach by the Police to try to keep kids safe. But is this NOT Government Intrusion? Just because I happen to agree with this one, doesn't really change the fact if it is or isn't. Does the Government have the Right to curtail one's Freedom. To interfere with the Child Parent Relationship? No matter how good the Intention? Or is this just commonsense and a necessity because some Parents just simply should not be? You decide.
Peter

Sources:
WLS 890 AM Radio - Chicago council OKs earlier curfew

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