DETROIT (WWJ) – A proposal to extend a citywide curfew for unsupervised youth during this weekend’s festival and fireworks along the Detroit River is expected to be approved by city leaders.
The Detroit City Council will likely vote on the issue at a public hearing Tuesday afternoon, despite backlash from some who say the move is unconstitutional and unfairly places kids under house arrest.
The curfew would run from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, during the River Days Festival, and then from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday, fireworks night. During those hours, anyone age 17 and under will be prohibited from being away from home without a parent or guardian, even if they’re miles from the Detroit River. Exceptions will be made for those traveling to and from work, a recognized educational institution or organized sports.
If youth are caught unsupervised during curfew hours, they could be detained and their parents fined upwards of $500.
Police Chief James Craig said the curfew is not meant to stereotype or criminalize minors, but is meant to keep them safe.
“We want to stay focused on public safety and that’s it,” Craig told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas. “We’re reaching out to the communities saying, ‘Look, we don’t want to detain young people but we are going to hold parents responsible.’ It’s no secret that we’ve had problems in the past and we shouldn’t ignore this, and certainly it would be irresponsible of me and the police department to ignore it. Point one is this, we welcome all young people. All we’re saying is can we have some help, some supervision help [by the parents]?”
The council is expected to vote on the issue following public input at a 2 p.m. hearing at the Coleman Young Building on Woodward Avenue.
Last year, Detroit police officers detained more than 100 minors for violating the citywide curfew during the fireworks. The juveniles, who arrived by the busload at the city’s Southwest Precinct, were held overnight until their parents arrived to take them home.