City Hall Hunts for a Deal on Teen Curfews

The outlines of a deal on a year-round Kansas City Missouri curfew for teens under 18 may be emerging.
Two key players, curfew sponsor Jan Marcson, and a key opponent, Public Safety Committee Chairman John Sharp met with Kansas City Police recently to discuss the issue.
Marcason’s idea of a year-round, 9pm curfew for Kansas City teens under 18 has run into resistance.
The issue has come to the forefront again because of early spring crowds of teens gathering in the Country Club Plaza.
Marcason says the police tell her the curfew works. She says the police do not spend as much manpower and resources on curfew issues after the first week or two they’re in effect.
“The first two weeks,” said Marcason, is the test, “when they’re trying to get teenagers familiar with the time-table.”
Sharp opposes the 9pm curfew. He says it’s too early. He thinks it would prohibit an older teen from even going to a 7pm movie in many cases.
He also says the proposal has a problem because it holds parents of 17 year olds liable for their behavior.
“But 17 year olds are considered adults, for criminal purposes in Missouri. So we ought to change that.”
Sharp says the city already has several curfews, depending on the season and the age of the teen is aimed at.
He says the Police Dept. keeps a flow chart to track them all. He figures it would be just as hard for a teen to track them, too.
If there is one curfew, he thinks it should be consistent. He also thinks curfews should be “a tiny part”, of how the city helps keep teenagers safe.
Sharp and Marcason agree that it as handful of teens that start and cause the trouble on the Plaza, and other parts of town.
Another part of a potential compromise could be pushing the curfew time back.
“We don’t want it to go too late, maybe from 9 to 9:30. Maybe 10pm. A lot of the problems are 10 o’clock and later,” said Marcason.
The curfew issue is scheduled to go back to the City Council’s Public Safety Committee in mid May.

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