|For Immediate Release
May 14, 2008
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
LAW ENFORCEMENT AIMS TO KEEP KIDS IN
SCHOOL, OFF THE STREETS, THROUGH
LATE NIGHT CURFEW SWEEPS
ANAHEIM – To keep children in school and off the streets, the Anaheim Police Department (APD) and Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) conducted curfew sweeps as part of an innovative gang prevention effort involving Anaheim parents and their children.
Last night, May 13, 2008, a curfew enforcement team consisting of officers from APD, a deputy district attorney, a district attorney investigator, and an elementary school counselor patrolled the neighborhoods surrounding Olive Street and Thomas Jefferson Elementary Schools. The sweep was conducted after law enforcement received numerous complaints from community members and parents that small children as young as seven years old were unsupervised and allowed to play in the street late into the night.
The curfew laws in the City of Anaheim Municipal Code (7.12.030) prohibit minors from being out in public places, including playing in the street between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. the following day, unless they are accompanied by a parent. Circumstantial exceptions are made for minors participating in employment, educational, or emergency activities.
The teams conducting the curfew sweeps found nine of children in violation of the curfew ordinance. The children ranged from 12 to 17 years old. The nine children found in violation of curfew laws were escorted home by the curfew enforcement team and parents of children out past 10:00 p.m. were given a warning. If a child is found in violation of curfew laws after the parent has been warned about the ordinance, the case may later result in criminal prosecution.
These curfew sweeps come two months after a truancy intervention in the same Anaheim neighborhoods, designed to decrease truancy and support positive student attendance. The truancy intervention revealed that many students with chronic truancy problems were often tardy to school because they were not required to be at home and in bed at an appropriate hour.
“Our recent CalGRIP truancy intervention program resulted in 100 percent school attendance at the affected schools in the days following the intervention. We hope that our efforts in these curfew sweeps will yield similar results,” said Anaheim Deputy Police Chief Craig Hunter. “We are also proud that CalGRIP’s work to reduce gang activities and create safe and drug-free schools was the recent recipient of the Greater Los Angeles Federal Executive Board ‘Partnership Award’.”
“Children who are left unsupervised and allowed to roam the streets at night are prime targets for gang members. Gang members prey on these young kids by giving them the attention that they are craving,” said Senior Deputy District Attorney Tracy Rinauro, who was recently assigned full time to develop gang prevention programs for the County. “An effective way to stop gang violence is to keep kids from joining gangs in the first place.”