The Fort Worth City Council voted to temporarily extend the curfew for anyone under the age of 17 years old ahead of its imminent expiration.
The extension means that the curfew is in place for another 30 days. The city council determined that it needs to evaluate more information from police and the community to determine if the curfew has been effective, as reported by Fox 4 news.
State law requires all curfews to be reviewed and then acted upon by the city council every three years. Had the temporary extension not been agreed upon, the curfew would have expired on Saturday. If extended long-term, the curfew would continue until 2026.
Normally, juveniles in Fort Worth under the age of 17 are not allowed to be out without an adult past certain hours each day. Sunday through Thursday, the curfew is from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. On Fridays and Saturdays, the curfew runs from midnight to 6 a.m. A citation for violating the curfew currently carries a fine of $500.
The curfew, which began in 1994, is meant to reduce juvenile crime and related issues. Despite the intent, some council members are split on how effective the curfew has been.
“I don’t think that it’s working,” said Chris Nettles of District 8 during Tuesday night’s meeting, according to KRLD. “And frankly in three years, we have only had 120 filings out of over 900,000 people who live in the city of Fort Worth.”
Nettles was the lone dissenting opinion on the 8-1 vote to temporarily extend the curfew.
Carlos Flores of District 2 disagreed with Nettles, arguing the curfew does more than just protect Fort Worth from crimes committed by minors.
“We do have anecdotal information that it could, and does in some cases, reduce the opportunity for crimes committed by minors,” stated Flores, “but more importantly, [it] also reduces the likelihood that minors could be victims of crimes.”
Such concerns are especially pressing as the metroplex — in Fort Worth, Dallas, and the cities in between — faces a wave of rising crime that political authorities have done little to combat.
The Fort Worth City Council will continue to evaluate more information regarding the curfew and reconvene to vote in 30 days.