What happens after midnight?

Enforcement of curfew law meant to protect rather than harm

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“It’s past curfew” is a line some students hear frequently whether it is from their parents or, if they are unfortunate enough, a patrol officer. Strategies that underage minors use so they won’t get caught don’t always work and they end up having to face the consequences.

The curfew law in Craig has always been a debatable issue. People such as law enforcement find it helpful and productive, others, such as students, see it as unnecessary.

Places such as Grand Junction and Delta don’t have a curfew law. Student Resource Officer Mark Brown,who has worked in other cities in Colorado, says that places without curfew laws including Delta and Grand Junction have to deal with more juvenile crime on a regular basis. He contends that with only a few businesses being open after midnight, minors are not usually up to any good when they are out during those late hours.

“You’re not scared of the dark, you’re scared of the people in the dark,” Brown said. He added that the curfew is meant to protect minors instead of harm them.

Police Chief Walt Vanatta said that curfews make streets safer at night by reducing property and violent crime. These crimes often occur during overnight hours. The U.S. Highway Safety Administration also concluded that more teens are killed in car accidents after midnight than any other time of the day.

The law was first enacted in 1965, but revisions to it were made in 1976, 1980, and 1990.

It now states that, “It is unlawful for any person between the ages of 14 and 18 years who is not accompanied by a parent or guardian to loiter, linger, wander or play on the public streets... or other unsupervised places within the city between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and dawn on Friday and Saturday nights and between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and dawn on any other day of the week.”

While the curfew law may seem unnecessary to students, parents and law enforcement find it useful to keep everybody in the community safe.

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