Police say curfew violations contribute to crime

Friday, April 14, 2006

Do you know where your kids are? About two decades ago, that question was posed to viewers just before the late news on Chicago television. Now, Police Supt. Phil Cline is asking the media to bring the public service announcements back to remind parents to keep tabs on their children over the summer.

When the weather turns warmer and students are out of school for spring break or the summer, it can make for a dangerous time. Officials said more than a dozen kids hanging-out on a South Side street early Friday morning. About 3 hours after curfew, a van rolled-up and an argument ensued. Shots were fired.

"I saw a guy walking back to the van. He said 'Okay, it's over.' He got in the van, turned and just shot out the van. Pop! Pop! Pop!" said Derrick Griffin, witness.

When the shooting stopped 14 year-old Jordan Wilkerson of Chicago Ridge was dead. Residents say it's not uncommon to see teens out until the early hours of the morning.

"They usually out here every night and stay out here until about 1 or 1:30. Then they go in the house," said Rhonda Cook, resident.

Officials said the clear violation of curfew contributes to crime. In Chicago curfew covers everyone under the age of 17 and is at 10:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

"We're going to make a big effort as the weather warms up to get juveniles off the street -- but the primary responsibility lies with parents," said Supt. Phil Cline.

Police Supertintendent Phil Cline remembers when TV stations used to broadcast public service announcements at night asking parents if they know where the kids are. He'd like those spots to return to the airwaves.

"I remember that my whole career growing up and when I was a young police officer and for whatever reason we got away from that. I think it would be a good public service to do that again at 10:30 at night," said Supt. Cline.

Last year, Chicago police issued more than 21,000 citations for curfew violations. The fines range from a warning up to $500.

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