In a not-unexpected move, the Dallas City Council voted to approve the daytime minor curfew.
Readers should be well acquainted on where I stand on this issue.
Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle likened the curfew the city’s towing ordinance that allows officers to tow cars if a driver can’t show proof of insurance. While police enforcement of the law is low, the fact that it’s on the books makes people maintain their car insurance. He believes the existence of the curfew will deter minors.
The city wants to use this curfew to stop teens that skip school and commit crime. If the kid skips school to violate the law that says he can’t break into my house, he’s not going to keep his butt in a desk because he’s afraid of the big, bad daytime curfew that by the chief’s admission won’t be strictly enforced.
Realistically, enforcement of this ordinance is going to rest on the shoulders of the extended neighborhood patrols homeowners associations hire to watch over their neighborhoods during the day.
Those cops are the ones not saddled down with an overload of 911 calls to answer, and will already be in the neighborhoods. So now instead of paying off duty cops to deter crime, they’ll be paying for the cops to write curfew tickets.
The ordinance also holds business owners accountable for having minors on their property. If a business allows minors on its property during the curfew hours, it gets two warnings before police can write the business owner a ticket.
If a business has people on its property, the owner has to make a determination whether that person is a minor or if they have a reason to be in public.
So if my 16-year-old misses lunch at school to drive himself to a doctor’s appointment, he’s gotta show a doctor’s note to the guy at the drive-thru to pick up a cheeseburger on the way back to class?
Police can write Class C misdemeanor tickets for curfew violators. That’s the same kind of ticket you get when you’re in a traffic accident, and comes with a maximum penalty of a $500 fine. That’s also the severity of violating the state’s compulsory school attendance laws.
If the old law wasn’t deterring truancy, why does the council think a new redundant one will?