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Carnegie officials want curfew for minors 1 hour earlier

Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

Officials in Carnegie hope bumping the curfew for minors down an hour would help combat trouble spots in the borough where raucous youth tend to congregate.

Council voted 6-0 Monday to advertise lowering the 11 p.m. curfew for minors to 10 p.m. Council President Pat Catena said allowances will be made for functions like high school football games and school dances.

Councilman Mike Sarsfield expressed dissatisfaction with the possible change, but voted to advertise.

“I will vote tonight so we can further the ongoing conversation,” he said.

Sarsfield said council and the chief have made it clear they “aren't going to be out stalking these kids, so I don't really know the need (for curfew).

“Part of my problem with it is, you're passing this to say they have to be in by 10 p.m., but if they're coming home from a football game or a dance, it's OK, you'll make allowances,” he said. “How do you pick and choose who you enforce it on?”

He said that if police get a complaint, it's generally because the kids are causing a disturbance, in which case they will be cited for something like disorderly conduct anyway.

“I just don't know where it gets us at the end of the day,” he said.

The 10 p.m. restrictions are not unknown to borough youth — the borough had had in place a 10 p.m. curfew from 1974 until April 2004, when kids in the community successfully lobbied for the extension to 11 p.m.

Sarsfield was on the council that voted to move curfew to 11 p.m.

“Right now, the problem is with juveniles being out between 10 and 11 creating disturbances, going through people's yards, making noise — all of those factors,” Catena said.

He said one specific problem area – and the one for which he gets the most complaints – is near Beechwood Boulevard and Library Road. Police chief Jeffrey Kennedy said he also gets calls to that area, which is adjacent to the Carnegie Towers.

Catena brought the subject before council at the Aug. 4 workshop meeting, where he played a recording of kids on the street near the intersection, commenting that they were loud enough to be heard from his window down the street on Beechview.

Police chief Jeffrey Kennedy said that while his department does not get a lot of curfew calls, he supports the reversion to 10 p.m.

“My officers aren't actively looking for a child walking home from a friend's house,” he said. “But if it's 10:30 p.m. and there are kids out riding bikes and making noise, it hasn't reached the level of an actual crime, but (curfew) gives us a tool to say, ‘Go home or we'll give you a citation for breaking curfew.'”

What the department is not aiming for, he said, is citing any juvenile out past 10 p.m.

“All our officers understand that if you're walking home late from a friend's house, we're going to let you walk home,” he said. “They're not out there looking for these kids. It's a tool for us to use if kids are misbehaving.”

Kennedy said a broken-curfew citation would be similar to any non-traffic citation, and it would be subject to a fine from the magistrate.

“A lot of times, they'll get community service for that kind of stuff,” he said.

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at mguza@tribweb.com.

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