Last week, the Dallas Police Department began stricter enforcement of teen curfew laws, and all the local TV stations ran stories on the evening news. Neighborhood mom Linda Gavigan watched the reports and was puzzled. Some channels said the curfew applies to teens “under the age of 17,” some referred to “17-and-younger-year-olds” and others just said “juveniles.” As the mother of a 17-year-old senior, Gavigan wondered whether or not the laws and penalties applied to her daughter and friends.

The DPD website says the curfew applies to those “under 17,” meaning 17-year-olds are not under restriction (although Gavigan has some rules of her own in mind for her kids). Weeknights kids must be home between 11 pm and 6 am, and they can be out until midnight on weekends. “The summer time curfew is all about keeping kids from committing crimes and preventing them from becoming victims, nothing good happens after midnight,” Senior Cpl. Janice Crowther said. “We are going after this hard. Officers are on the lookout for curfew violators.”

“It at least wakes the parents up to understand that their kids are out and possibly in a position which they could have been either victimized or get into trouble themselves,” added Sgt. Paul Keough. “If we can get them in, at least they are not a victim of a crime tonight.”

The penalty for curfew violation is a $265 ticket, but police will also bring them to the station until their parents come to claim them. For most neighborhood teens, that humiliation would be a high price, indeed.

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