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Curfew Citations Down During Emanuel's Mayoralty

By Chuck Sudo in News on Sep 12, 2014 2:20PM

2011_7_7_children.jpg Mayor Rahm Emanuel cited public safety concerns and uniformity with state law for his proposal to extend Chicago’s curfew to all residents under the age of 18. Despite Emanuel’s “tough dad” talk, curfew violation citations have dropped significantly during Emanuel’s time in office. The Sun-Times has the numbers.

In 2011, Emanuel’s first half-year in office, police wrote 21,500 curfew citations. That was followed by a steady drop to 18,527 in 2012; 14,233 in 2013; and just 8,855 through Sept. 5 of this year, police records show.

Police Department spokesman Martin Maloney tried to put the best possible face on the decline, which coincides with a steady drop in the number of arrests in recent years.

“As crime continues to decline, we would expect enforcement to decline as well. After all, the magic number in terms of enforcement should be [zero]. Declining citations is a success in our eyes as long as crime continues trending that way as well,” Maloney wrote in an email to the Chicago Sun-Times that ignored the uptick in shootings.

So why propose another change to the curfew law if the citations numbers are already in decline? Emanuel also cited a recent change in how juveniles being processed through the criminal justice system are defined by the state. But as Ald. Howard Brookins said after Emanuel proposed the change to the curfew ordinance, “17-year-olds in the eyes of the courts are predominantly treated as adults.” The concerns of Brookins and other aldermen is Emanuel’s curfew extension proposal will hurt those teens who are behaving at the expense of a handful of bad apples. Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) said older teens should be given some benefit of the doubt.

“I just want to make sure that we don’t put young people in a position where they will fail — where they will do something that they normally do and then, get in trouble for it,” Burnett said.