On April 4, Leander’s existing juvenile curfew ordinance was extended three years by City Council.
Police Chief Greg Minton recommended to council that Leander maintain its existing curfew hours, which run from 12:01 a.m to 6 a.m. Monday through Friday and 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. The rule applies to anyone age 17 or younger who is not accompanied by a parent or guardian.
“Continuing this curfew ordinance would provide a tool for law enforcement to make lawful contact with juveniles who are found to be out during late-night hours and address related issues in an effort to reduce youth-related crime and victimization,” Minton said in a memo to Leander City Manager Kent Cagle.
The unanimous vote did not come without prior discussion from council, which held a public hearing on the extension in accordance with state law. One resident, Sherry LeBlanc, suggested the city alter its ordinance to include a graduated curfew—a policy that staggers curfew times based on age.
“It makes no sense to me that a 5- to 8-year-old would have same curfew as 15- to 16-year-olds,” she told council. “[A graduated curfew] not only reduces the amount of crimes the juveniles can commit, it also reduces victimization of minors.”
In using a graduated curfew system, for example, children age 12 and younger would be required to be home by 10 p.m., while 13- to 15-year-olds would have to be off the streets by 11 p.m. The remaining minors would need to be home by the standard curfew time.
“It’s something we can look at—it’s not a problem at all,” Minton said, pointing out that such a policy would require no additional staffing but could take officers longer to verify the identity and age of a minor.
LeBlanc’s suggestion prompted council to inquire about such a graduated curfew system. No city in Texas has such a system in place that Minton could find. LeBlanc pointed to a similar system used with success, she said, in Minneapolis.
Ultimately, however, the council agreed to keep the existing system, which was first put in place in 1998 and was last approved in 2007.