The Fort Worth City Council has temporarily extended a curfew for people under 17 years old, but will wait to make a final decision. Fox 4 reports the curfew, which requires children in Fort Worth to be accompanied by an adult if they are out late, had been set to expire on Saturday. As per the ordinance, juveniles under 17 cannot be out alone between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Sunday through Thursday and between midnight and 6 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. This ordinance has been in place since 1994, but a state statute requires the council to review and vote on it every three years.
Police have reported issuing 120 citations for curfew violations over the past three years, which carry a fine of $500. Council members stated that they need more information from both the police and the community to determine the effectiveness of the curfew before making a final decision. Fox 4 says it has been argued that curfews for minors could be an effective measure for reducing juvenile crime and ensuring the safety of young people. However, some critics argue that curfews can disproportionately impact low-income families and people of color and may also limit young people's ability to participate in extracurricular activities or work after-school jobs.
The council plans to gather more data and input from the community over the next few weeks before deciding whether to extend the curfew, modify it or repeal it. They will also be looking into the impact of curfew on the community, especially minority and low-income families to decide on the most equitable solution.
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