The city council in Iowa City has passed the first reading of juvenile curfew ordinance on a 4-3 vote. Many opponents of the measure say it’ll unjustly punish law-abiding teens for the actions of a few of their peers. Iowa City Police spokesperson Sergeant Troy Kelsay says the curfew, if approved, would likely involve a $50 fine.
“However it comes out, it will be a useful tool for law enforcement,” Kelsay said. “Don’t expect to see every juvenile who’s out past whatever the curfew is for that night, and depending on his or her age, to be charged. That is not what is going to happen.” The ordinance was drafted in response to recent problems with juvenile crime on Iowa City’s southeast side.
Kelsay says in most cases, officers will likely just tell kids who are found to be out past curfew to get home or the officer will give them a ride home without issuing a ticket. Two more votes are required before the measure becomes law. The curfew would require children 13 and younger to be home by 10 p.m., 14-and-15-year-olds by 11 p.m. and 16-and-17-year-olds by midnight.
There are certain exceptions for things like work, school and religious activities. The Iowa City ordinance is modeled after a curfew already in place in the neighboring town of Coralville.