Under current city of Indianapolis curfew laws, it is perfectly fine for a 15-year old to be running the streets at midnight on a Friday or Saturday. Somehow, that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
As the summer gets into full swing and we see and read more reports of juveniles getting in trouble and committing crimes, I think it is definitely time to take another look at our curfew laws.
Currently, under city code, kids ages 14 and under have a curfew of 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays. For ages 15-17 that curfew is 1 a.m. Under Indiana state law, curfew is between 11 p.m. – 5 a.m. for any child under age 15 any day of the week. And for ages 15-17, the curfew is after 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 1 a.m. on the weekends.
There are some exceptions to the curfew law such as a minor who is working, married, participating in a religious activity, or is with a guardian.
However, most of the times when curfew is violated, none of those factors are in play. I don’t think a gang of 15-year old kids roaming the canal area or some other part of downtown at midnight are on their way to late night Bible study.
State law gives local governments the authority to move curfew up by two hours. So Indianapolis could extend its curfew for kids ages 14 and under to 9 p.m., which would suit me just fine. And for those juveniles who may be up to no good, but with an adult, I say we use the statues to hold those adults accountable as well for the actions of the minors. And I have no qualms about charging a parent with criminal neglect if their urchin continues to break the law and the parent takes no reasonable steps to stop that behavior.
I have a hard time seeing any logical valid reason why a 13-year old should be running the streets, unsupervised, after 9 p.m. As my grandmother would say, “there ain’t nothing going late at night but the devil making his mischief.” I am not a very religious person, but I have always agreed with the general sentiment behind that statement.
My father had a simple rule for me and my brothers, when the streetlights come on, you come in. I know a lot of these kids don’t have responsible fathers, but when we let roam the streets unsupervised, nothing good can come of any of this. And yes, I know this won’t solve all of the city’s crime problems, but if we can’t go after the small stuff, how do we tackle the big stuff?