Enforcement period for Denver’s youth curfew ordinance set to begin

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DENVER -- Safety Youth Programs and Denver police officers will begin enforcing Denver’s curfew ordinance on Friday and continuing through the end of September.

Under the Denver SafeNite Program, children 17 years old and younger are not allowed in public from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and midnight to 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday unless they are with a parent or legal guardian. There are exceptions for those who are working, traveling or a part of other approved activities.

“Efforts that promote safety and that aid to reduce the number of youth that enter the legal system are vital to the strength of our communities,” Executive Director of Safety Stephanie O’Malley said in a news release.

“The goals are to keep young people off the streets…out of harm’s way,” said Commander Megan Dodge. “When kids under 18 are picked up they will get a ticket, then be taken to the Juvenile Center at 303 W. Colfax, where their parent will be called. This will make them eligible for the city diversion program instead of giving them a court date.”

Kids of all ages were at the Glenarm Rec Center, with DPS on spring break today. Most we talked with understand why it’s best for them to be off the streets when the sun goes down.

Just a fist-grader to be, Kaitlyn said, “Only bad things can happen when someone might capture you!” Briauana, a 4th grader said, “With so many people out for a party, kids playing in the street could be hit by a drunk driver.”

And, 19-year old Victor Lane, a Manual senior said he and his friends couldn’t catch a bus back to the east side from a night of fun at Lakeside, when they began walking W. Colfax, cops picked them up and gave them tickets and took them home.

“I think it’s a good thing if the curfew keeps kids safe and out of trouble. Anything could have happened to us on the way home, we were just glad police were calm with us,” said Lane.

Parents and youth workers we talked with say programs and jobs are needed for young people.

“The Denver Nuggets sponsored Nite Moves featuring late-night basketball, but money dried up and no one wanted to fund the program, even tho it worked,” said former Manual Basketball Coach John Collins.

And, Al Simmons said his Youth Foundation works with kids too, “But providing them with activities takes funds, funds which have dried up from many of the businesses which prosper here in Denver.”

The Denver SafeNite Program began in 1994.

Over the past five summers, these are the numbers of tickets which have been issued:

2010 – 508 tickets

2011 – 614 tickets

2012 – 594 tickets

2013 – 687 tickets

2014 – 464 tickets