Red Deer’s night curfew for youth will stay put at 1 a.m. until 6 a.m.
After considerable discussion involving RCMP, a youth organization and the city’s Crime Prevention Advisory Committee, Red Deer city council decided on Monday to keep the current times on when youth under 16 should be off public property and in for the night.
Last June, members of the Northwood Estates Neighbourhood Watch Committee proposed changing the current curfew period of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
They gathered 651 names in support.
Although the petition was declared invalid due to Municipal Government Act rules, the city wanted to gauge the level of support in the community.
The crime committee discussed the curfew at three meetings and then came up with a recommendation of making the curfew one hour earlier, or midnight.
Council elected on Monday to have administration to continue discussion with the council committee on three aspects — incorporating curfew bylaw times into the city’s Community Standards bylaw; explore amendments to the Community Standards Bylaw as it relates to youth and crime prevention; and work with agencies and community resource groups to develop a model to help identify youth at risk.
Once this work is finished, recommendations will be brought back to council.
RCMP have only used the curfew bylaw a handful of times to ticket youth since it was introduced in 1998, said Community Services director Colleen Jensen.
Police do use it as a warning to tell some youth to go home.
“When you are dealing with individuals who are causing a problem, there are other issues like open liquor, causing a disturbance,” said Supt. Brian Simpson.
As a result, troublemakers may be charged with offences under the Criminal Code or ticketed under the Community Standards bylaw.
The Community Standards bylaw addresses graffitti, spitting and bullying.
“The majority of youth in the community are not an issue — everything has to be done in balance,” Simpson said.
Crime committee chairwoman TerryLee Ropchan said the committee thought midnight was a good idea because many city services end around midnight.
“If there was a youth out on a bus and coming home late at night, it would deliver them around 11:40ish,” Ropchan said. “We want to work with them and not get them in trouble.”
Ropchan said future debate will not centre on curfew times, but on how the curfew bylaw could fall within the Community Standards bylaw.
She anticipates the committee will discuss the issue at its January meeting.
Youth Voice, a group of youth ranging in age from 13 to 19, recently sent a letter to Mayor Morris Flewwelling in opposition of changed curfew times.
It said the city should promote more healthy and positive solutions for youth instead of further restrictions.