Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Youth Curfew Possible Neptune Beach May Add Ordinance

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Youth Curfew Possible Neptune Beach May Add Ordinance

Article excerpt

Byline: Kevin Clark and Caren Burmeister , Shorelines staff writers

NEPTUNE BEACH -- Citing an increase in crime by teenagers, City Council members on Monday will discuss imposing a curfew on people under age 18.

Public Safety Director Bill Brandt said several officers approached him about implementing a curfew after an unusually large number of thefts and vehicle burglaries at the Beaches during the past two months. Most of the suspects or people arrested were under 18, and increasing numbers of teens have been out in public after midnight, he said.

"We get our share of crime but we usually don't have them in such a compressed time period," Brandt said. "[A curfew] gives officers a reason to stop kids at 3 a.m. to see what they're doing."

Brandt asked City Councilman Buddy Crout to sponsor an ordinance that would implement a curfew similar to the one used by Jacksonville. The curfew would begin at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday evenings and midnight for Friday and Saturday nights. The curfew would end at 6 a.m. seven days a week. Teens who break the curfew without a legitimate excuse would be told to return home or be taken home by officers.

Council members will consider the ordinance under an emergency reading and public hearing at their Monday meeting. If the ordinance passes, it would be implemented immediately.

"The chief and I had some discussions about the latest crimes and he had records to back his request up," Crout said. "It [crime] has really gotten bad in the last couple of months."

Council's approval of the ordinance would mean all three Beaches cities would have curfews. Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beach implemented curfews about a decade ago. Crout said he didn't think the other council members would argue against public safety in this case.

"It appears we are a safe haven from the curfews in Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beach, and we'll have to eliminate these problems for the sake of our citizens," Crout said. …

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