MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The city of Memphis is asking parents to be part of the solution in its newest public service campaign. This all comes ahead of a launch of a new curfew plan next month, and after a controversial Juvenile Crime Abatement Program by Memphis Police was leaked to the media.
The program was eventually put on pause while a new plan was developed.
In the past MPD has said there have been children as young as eight unaccompanied by an adult downtown. Previously, the department said a majority of thefts downtown were from minors.
“You work hard, you pay taxes, you should be able to enjoy your community,” said Napreshia Gardner, Mother of three.
Summer vacation is just a little over a week away for some students in Memphis, and city leaders are hoping to keep them safe. On May 18th, the city tweeted out a video reminding parents to keep an eye on their kids, and “Get Them In By 10.”
The video reminded parents it is illegal for a child to be out past midnight. Some parent tell ABC24 they feel this enforcement will not just keep children safe, but the entire community as well.
“It really has beefed up, not just here but all over the United States,” said Sandra Boone, Whitehaven Resident, “With kids getting out of school, with the crime the way it is here in Memphis, I really think a curfew would be a good thing.”
The city ordinance surrounding curfew states:
A. It is unlawful for any minor between 17 and 18 years of age to remain in or upon any public street, highway, park, vacant lot, establishment or other public place within the city during the following time frames:
1. Monday through Thursday between the hours of 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.;
2.Friday through Sunday between the hours of 12:00 midnight to 6:00 a.m.
B. It is unlawful for any minor 16 years of age and under to remain in or upon any public street, highway, park, vacant lot, establishment or other public place within the city during the following time frames:
1. Monday through Thursday between the hours of 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.;
2. Friday through Sunday between the hours of 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
Parents like Dennis Jones, worry these curfews are not as effective as leaders would hope.
“Most of the crime happens prior to those hours, the only time we have crime after those hours is if we have some big event in the city like leaving the club or a concert or something,” said Jones.
A common suggestion to curb youth crime has been investing in activities for children over the summer. However, one parent tells ABC24, a lot of these programs are out of reach for low-income families, and families who has parents working odd hours.
“They say parents should be more involved or more aware what’s going on with their children, it’s kind of hard to do when you’re trying to provide for them,” said Napreshia Gardner, Parent of 3, “There’s no help for parents who have teenagers or the children that they believe are out here doing mischief.”
MPD tells ABC24, if a child is violating curfew, regardless of where they are, an officer will detain them until a parent or guardian is located. The Memphis City Council has also considered opening a center for curfew violators.