New Orleans Police Officers picked up seven children breaking curfew Monday night, the first night of strict curfew enforcement in New Orleans.
The curfew has been in place for years, but with a recent spike in juvenile crime, city leaders are trying to send a strong message.
The curfew starts at 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. On the weekends, Friday to Sunday, the curfew starts at 11 p.m. In the French Quarter, the curfew goes into effect at 8 p.m. every night.
If police officers find children between the ages 10 and 17 out after curfew and do not believe he or she has committed any other crimes, the child will be brought to the Covenant House on N. Rampart Street if police can't reach a parent first.
None of the seven children picked up Monday were taken to Covenant House.
If officers have reason to believe the child has committed a crime, however, they can be arrested.
If a child is picked up three times in a calendar year, a court summons will be issued and parents or guardians could face fines.
Mayor Latoya Cantrell's plan is not solely based on enforcement.
There are several social programs, including a summer jobs program for kids, and the administration is putting an emphasis on the New Orleans Public Library system – citing statistics that show children who know how to read are far less likely to commit crimes.