Local News

Town Council Makes Some Changes After Reviewing Knightdale Curfew

Posted October 3, 2005 10:14 a.m. EDT

— Knightdale leaders met Monday night to discuss changing the town's teen curfew by pushing back weekend hours and possibly changing the age limit, but the latest findings presented to them did not change their minds.

On June 1, the Wake County town imposed the curfew to help curb graffiti and gang activity. Since then, town leaders say they have seen some positive changes.

"Some of the crimes that are related to the juvenile problem have gone down," said Knightdale Director of Public Safety Skip Blaylock.

Currently, the curfew prohibits anyone under 18 years old to be out in public after 9 p.m. without adult supervision. It also bars four or more juveniles from gathering in a public place at any time. Parents of teens caught breaking the rules could be fined $100 for the first violation and more for repeat violations.

Authorities say they have only issued 35 warnings within a three-month period and no one has been fined. Findings presented to the town council show that most of the violations happened between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., with 15- and 16-year-olds being cited most often. The last warning was issued Sept. 4.

"We hadn't really had any problems with 18-year-olds at all," Blaylock said. "So, that's one of the recommendations to drop the age one year.'"

In addition, Blaylock also recommended to the council to move back the curfew time on weekends to 10 p.m. on the weekends.

While the town council did not change the curfew time on weekends or drop the age, they did vote to add First Amendment protection that would allow teenagers to assemble and stage a protest. Council members also voted to change the fine to parents a civil penalty rather than a criminal penalty.

In July, the American Civil Liberties Union held a community meeting after it claimed the curfew violated civil rights, but a majority of the people who attended the meeting voiced support for the ordinance.

The curfew does include exceptions for teens traveling to and from a job or any other organized activity that is supervised by adults. In such cases, juveniles must carry a written note, signed by a parent, that lists their home address and telephone number.