Future of Dallas Teen Curfew Ordinance Still Uncertain

The juvenile curfew within the city of Dallas has been in place for 28 years, but the ordinance is set to expire Friday.

If the city council votes to approve a new curfew ordinance, the police department recommends an ordinance with lesser penalties that decriminalize curfew violations. A new ordinance cannot be enacted without at least two public hearings, which will not happen for several weeks.

For years, both city and community leaders have argued against the ordinance believing it unfairly targets children in low-income communities.

"The bigger issue for policy makers is that curfews simply do not work," said City Council Member Philip Kingston who represents district 14. “There have been extensive studies of these curfews, and they neither protect children from victimization, nor do they reduce crime.”

Supporters for the ordinance believe the curfew helps keep communities safe. Currently, the ordinance prohibits kids younger than 17 to be outside without an adult between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., and during school hours. The penalty is a class C misdemeanor subject to a fine of up to $500.

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