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Fort Worth Cracks Down on Teen Curfew Violators

Police are fighting curfew violators. This week, it cited more teens than it did during all of May.

School's out, and police know that can spell trouble.

"Traditionally, when schools let out for the summer, teens are really happy to be out of school, for one thing. That tends to create a euphoric state, and sometimes they get into a little trouble," said Lt. Paul Henderson, police spokesperson.

With budget cuts, many pools are shut down. Some teens don't have anywhere to go to entertain themselves. So, they hit the streets.

"To kids, it's boring. There's nothing to do," said parent Sonya Norfleet.

Police are making sure they know their limits. They're stepping up enforcement against curfew violators.

Anyone younger than 17 needs to be inside by 11pm Monday - Thursday. They get an extra hour Friday - Sunday. Then, the curfew's midnight.

"It's a tool to maintain safety: safety for our streets, for our residents, and for our families," said Henderson.

"I don't' think there's any reason, safety-wise, for a child to be out later than they need to. We know that the risks increase the later they're out at night," said Angie Walston, an educator at The Parenting Center.

The curfew applies city-wide, but police will focus more attention on specific spots.

"We've noticed that there are areas where teens tend to accumulate, and they hang out past curfew. That is always a recipe for disaster," said Henderson.

Spots like the Las Vegas corridor in west Fort Worth. Wednesday night, police cited two teens there. Each could get a $369 fine.

"If you're just going out to hang out, and it's past curfew, then that's a choice that they've made. A citation is a consequence of that choice," said Henderson.

Neighbors say they're happy for the police presence.

"I understand that you want to try to keep the peace, and this is sort of a bad neighborhood," said Barbara Murphy, who lives along the corridor.

"It makes you nervous, because things is happening to our young kids," said Norfleet

They recognize, the curfew isn't about stopping the party.

"Teen curfews are important. Not because we're trying to control their life.Nnot because we're trying to be lame, but because it's a safety issue," said Walston.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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