NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Police say they plan to begin “strictly enforcing the curfew ordinance” starting Monday, June 3 and will issue summons to the parents of those who violate the curfew at least three times.
The city’s curfew does not allow juveniles under 17 to be on the streets after 9 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends with exceptions for those who are with their parents or going to or from work. The curfew runs from June 1 to August 31. In the French Quarter the curfew is from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
The curfew law has been on the books for years, but has been enforced less often in recent years: the number of curfew citations dropped to a fraction of what they were a decade ago. In 2011, the NOPD reported 2,541 curfew detentions, which steadily decreased to 236 last year.
A recent reported surge in juvenile crime, especially around the crime of auto burglaries, one of which recently led to the death of a woman during a burglary of a vehicle in front of her home, caused the NOPD to make the move toward strongly enforcing the curfew.
“The last thing the men and women of the New Orleans Police Department want to do is arrest our youth – again and again and again,” said New Orleans Police Chief Shaun Ferguson. “But for too long in 2019, this is exactly what we have been doing.”
Ferguson said the juveniles who are picked up for curfew violation would be brought to the Curfew Center at the Covenant House to be picked up by a parent or guardian.
He said the parents of youth picked up three times would be given a summons for a municipal court appearance.
Ferguson also said that any child under the age of 10 found on the streets after hours without parents or guardians would be taken into protective custody “for their safety.”
“The majority of our kids are not responsible for these criminal acts,” Ferguson said.
In addition to the move on curfew enforcement, the city talked about a jobs program for youth who have been arrested in the past few months and juvenile court judges have said they will hold juvenile offenders deemed to be a 'danger to the public' until a juvenile judge can listen to the case.