Officers with South Bend's Street Crimes Unit arrested 24 teens Thursday night throughout the city during the first of several curfew sweeps. Police did not disclose the streets were the arrests occurred.
South Bend has an ordinance requiring teens younger than 18 to be off the streets by 11 p.m. unless they are supervised by a parent. The sweep is part of the city's ongoing effort to reduce youth violence.
"We have seen quite a lot of juvenile crime this year, armed juveniles. The Street Crimes Unit has made quite a few arrests already this spring of juveniles armed with handguns and last year during the end of the curfew sweep we did see some drug arrests and some handgun arrests come with the curfew sweep," said Sgt. Dan Skibbins with Street Crimes.
The teens were given a $25 fine and taken home to their parents. If they are caught violating city curfew again they could face a $100 fine for a second offense, followed by a $200 fine for a third offense.
"We find that more of them are upset about the fine, but there are a few parents we come across that are upset that they were woken up in the middle of the night and very angry with their children for being out and about and were told to stay home. A lot of them are sneaking out," said Skibbins.
Many parents appeared to be in favor of the enforcement of the curfew ordinance.
"I keep a tight hold onto my child. She has to be home before the street lights come up and if not I’m calling her and making sure she's home," said Ebbonie Williams. "If you ask me I think we need to go back to the times it used to be where the community all worked together to help raise our children."
South Bend requires all children younger than 15 to be off the street by 11 p.m. Teens between 15 and 17-years-old have a curfew of 11 p.m. on weekends at 1 a.m. on weekends. The ordinance permits some exceptions for school, religious and other sanctioned activities. For a complete list, view the city ordinance by clicking the link below.