Fort Worth to consider renewing teen curfew

FORT WORTH -- The City Council next week will consider renewing the curfew for teenagers that has been in place since 1994.

Police Chief Jeff Halstead supports the curfew, which requires juveniles, with some exceptions, to be off the streets between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and midnight to 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

The policy is a legacy of former Police Chief Thomas Windham, who died in 2000.

State law requires that cities conduct public hearings and review curfew ordinances every three years. A second public hearing will be held during the council meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 1000 Throckmorton St.

"The number of juveniles arrested for criminal offenses during curfew hours has decreased by 55 percent since 2006," Halstead said. Officers write about 1,200 curfew citations a year, he said.

The council could keep the policy as is, modify it or vote to abolish it. If no action is taken, the ordinance will expire March 4.

According to a 2005 National League of Cities survey, 96 percent of those polled approved of teen curfews.

"It sounds to me like it's doing exactly what it's designed to do," Mayor Mike Moncrief said.

Windham's goal in the early '90s was twofold: reduce crime and prevent youngsters from becoming the victims of crime.

"We want to see [juveniles] safe and at home," Halstead said.

John Henry, 817-390-7539