Committee debates curfew time change

A City of Red Deer committee is grappling over whether an 11 p.m. youth curfew will be enforceable and keep troublemakers at bay.

A City of Red Deer committee is grappling over whether an 11 p.m. youth curfew will be enforceable and keep troublemakers at bay.

On Thursday, the Crime Prevention Advisory Committee spent more than an hour discussing the merits of possibly changing Red Deer’s current curfew bylaw to one that is even stricter.

Several committee members had various views on whether it was necessary to change the curfew from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. City council decided in July to seek the committee’s advice after the Northwood Estates Neighbourhood Watch collected 651 signatures in favour of the change. The committee discussed the issue at its last meeting as well.

Under the current bylaw, youth under 16 cannot be in a public place during the curfew unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. Exceptions include youth who are working, volunteering or returning from an organized sporting event.

Red Deer RCMP Supt. Brian Simpson said the curfew is a tool that police use, ordering youth to go home when needed.

Otherwise, ticketing children who are past curfew is rarely used by police.

Simpson said he’s a big advocate of the “community taking ownership” of problems, such as forming neighbourhood associations.

“It’s not an immediate response. . . but it has made a difference,” he said.

Public member Garnet Ward expressed some support for the 11 p.m. curfew because “I’m not sure why a 12-year-old would be out” past that time.

Committee member Jason Taylor said it’s important to get enough information without making any “hasty decisions.”

“We have to have good reason for changing this time to that time — and not pulling times out of the air,” he said.

Committee chairwoman TerryLee Ropchan said she’s hopeful a recommendation of what the community wants will end up before city council this fall.

“We’re getting closer, but we’re still not there,” she said. “There’s still some programs we need to learn about and research that needs to be done.”

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