The Miami-Dade Police Department has instituted a curfew for city youth in the name of safety, but the department has been vague as to why the check-in time was implemented.
The curfew, which applies to Miami-Dade County residents under 17 years old, started being enforced Wednesday night. Children under that age cannot be out on their own between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. The curfew is pushed back one hour, from midnight until 6 a.m., on Fridays and Saturdays.
The Miami-Dade Police Department has cited safety as a reason for the curfew, but were adamant that the policy was not due to a spate of shootings, the Miami Herald reported.
“It’s normally done when kids are out of school, and we’ve done it before ... usually during the summer months. … That’s when kids tend to stay out later and later,” Miami police spokesman Willie Moreno told the paper, noting that the curfew has been enforced before over the past few years.
The curfew was instituted as spring break approaches for Miami students. Moreno said the curfew will help area youth stay out of trouble while they’re away from school.
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Predictably, the curfew is unpopular with Miami youngsters.
Keith Davis, a player for Team Pete Basketball, told NBC Miami that he personally doesn’t need a curfew. But he said the policy may benefit some of his peers.
"I don't really need a curfew, but I do feel that a curfew is important because young kids like my age are dying in the streets," he told NBC Miami.
Adults support the curfew.
"Make them go home, do a little homework, get them home early," Robert Sanchez told the NBC affiliate.
"Kids at that age, and there's nothing for kids to do from 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock in the morning,” added Cesar Barrero.
There are exceptions to the curfew. Youth who are accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or someone 21 or older who is responsible for the child are allowed to stay out past the curfew. Those who are working or traveling for work during curfew hours are also exempt, as are those with written permission from a parent or guardian to run an errand.
Additionally, children who are emancipated; aiding or assisting in an emergency; traveling to or from school, religious, civic or other events sponsored by Miami-Dade County; or attending or returning from a public event that began before 10 p.m. are excused from the curfew.