The stricter curfew law pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and approved this summer, without debate, by the Chicago City Council goes into effect Sunday.
The new curfew law means that unsupervised minors younger than 12 will need to be in their homes by 8:30 p.m. on weekdays and by 9 p.m. on the weekends in order to avoid a fine of up to $500 or community service for the offending minors' parents. Three offenses within a one-year period will result in a $1,500 fine plus community service.
Unsupervised minors ages 12 to 16 will continue to adhere to the existing curfew requiring that they be indoors by 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends.
As CBS Chicago reports, Emanuel took to the streets Friday to distribute flyers detailing the earlier curfew in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood. He also harnessed the power of the Internet, speaking in a YouTube PSA video unveiled Friday that is intended to help spread the word of the new policy.
"Curfews are in place to help protect our children, and police will be out enforcing the law," Emanuel said of the new curfew provisions, according to CBS. "But we need your help. Parents and neighbors, we need your help protecting our children by making sure they are home safe where they belong."
The curfew has not been instituted without some backlash. The Washington-based National Youth Rights Association sees curfews like Chicago's as unconstitutional because they "brazenly infringe upon the fundamental rights of young people, including the freedoms of expression, speech and association, and the rights to petition, due process and equal protection," as the group's president Jeffrey Nadel explained to the Chicago Tribune. They also see Chicago's $1,500 fine as a harsh price for parents to pay.
Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields has also expressed doubt whether the new curfew would be enforceable. He sees the changed curfew as essentially symbolic.
"If we can’t enforce laws to curb street violence because of manpower issues, how can we enforce [and even stricter] curfew law?" Shields said in July.
Still, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy described the curfew as an important part of his department's anti-violence platform.
"Get the kids off the street at night through curfew, and get them into schools during the day by truancy," McCarthy said, as reported by NBC Chicago. "When we make progress on the streets, we're going to hold it. We're not going to give it back."
WATCH Emanuel explain the new curfew and its enforcement:
View more videos at: http://nbcchicago.com.
Photo by spiesteleviv via Flickr.