Photo by Mireya Acierto
There are four simple words that most children don’t want to hear, but it’s a phrase that could potentially save their life: Be home by curfew.
When unsupervised children and teens are on the streets late at night, they are potential victims of crime or offenders of crime. Students are especially vulnerable during spring break and the summer months.
That’s why the Chicago Police Department has implemented the Curfew Ordinance for minors. The curfew law states that a child under the age of 17 is not allowed to be outside or in a public place during specific curfew hours without a parent or guardian who is at least 18-years-old (and must be appointed by the parent).
The definition of a public place is simple. It is any place where the public has access to. It includes (but is not limited to) streets and highways and the common areas of:
- Apartment buildings
- Office buildings
- Transport facilities
Children need to be at home or with a parent and/or guardian during the following curfew hours:
- 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday (of the following day)
- 11 p.m. – 6 a.m. on Friday and Saturday (of the following day)
If children are caught in a public place, unsupervised, it’s the parents who have to pay.
Upon conviction for each offense, which could include one day or part of a day, parents and/or legal guardians could potentially pay up to a $500 fine.
It is everyone’s responsibility to help prepare our children to confront potentially dangerous situations. That’s why it’s important to know where your children are at all times. Know their friends, and talk to them about how to stay safe.
Read more of our spring break 2009 stories: