Miami Curfew: What Are Rules, Exceptions For Children Under 17? Too Harsh Or Lenient? [POLL]

By Jason Van Hoven on February 28, 2013 12:35 PM EST

Miami curfew
Miami-Dade County police insist the Miami curfew isn't a response to a recent spate of shootings involving young teenagers. However, many find it hard to believe. (Photo: Creative Commons)

A curfew in Miami for children under 17 started being enforced by police on Wednesday, according to reports.

The Miami Herald reported that according to the Juvenile Curfew Ordinance, it is against the law for children younger than 17 to be out on their own in Miami-Dade County between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Sunday through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, the Miami curfew lasts between midnight and 6 a.m. As NBC Miami notes, children under 17 aren't allowed to "linger, stay, congregate, move about, wander, or stroll in any public place in Miami-Dade County, either on foot or in a vehicle during curfew hours."

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While police insist, though, that the Miami curfew is a result of general safety concerns rather than a response to a recent spate of shootings in the city, some Miami residents point to rashes of violent and sometimes deadly street crimes often involving young people as the impetus for the imposition.

"You know what's going on?" Pete Soriano asked. "You got drug dealing. You got shootouts ... kids getting killed left and right."

At Overtown's Gibson Park, manager Benjamin Hanks, who supports the curfew after recalling the night three people were shot at a youth football game last September, said that a police presence, and the Miami curfew, will help make the city's parks and streets safer.

"I think it's overdue that we need cops' supervision, more for preventive measures for the safety of people," Hanks said.

Unsurprisingly, children under 17 oppose the Miami curfew. Keith Stewart is one of them.

"I don't really need a curfew, but I do feel that a curfew is important because young kids like my age are dying in the streets," he said.

However, as CBS Miami points out, at least eight people were shot in Miami including three teenagers -- two of which were killed -- in recent days.

"I've had young people come in and tell me I've had two or three friends killed, I'm not going to live until 21," said Sgt. Eunice Cooper of Miami's homicide unit.

Miami police spokesman Willie Moreno said that police have enforced the Miami curfew several times within the last few years.

"It's normally done when kids are out of school, and we've done it before ... usually during the summer months," he said. "That's when kids tend to stay out later and later."

Moreno also noted that Miami-Dade students will soon be on spring break, which could lead them to staying out late at night.

There are some exceptions to the curfew, however. They include:

-- Being accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or someone 21 or older with permission to be responsible for the juvenile

-- Working or traveling to or from work

-- Having written permission from a parent or guardian to run an errand

-- Aiding or assisting in an emergency

-- Traveling to or from school, religious, civic, or county-sponsored events

-- If the juvenile is emancipated by marriage or a court order

-- Attending or returning from a public event (with permission) if the event began before 10 p.m.

-- Being authorized by the County Commission


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