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Monday, May 27, 2024

IMPD enforces curfew law for children under 18

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By FARAH YOUSRY

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department announced they will enforce the state’s curfew law for people under 18 starting Friday.

The decision comes in response to a spike in youth-involved gun violence around the city. Just last weekend, a mass shooting injured 7 young people between the ages of 12 and 16 in the downtown area. 

“Last weekend was unacceptable. Our children with guns [were] left alone Downtown. Our community must find effective ways to reduce the harm that stems from neglect, abuse, and irresponsible gun possession,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.

There have been 15 incidents of gun violence involving children under 18 since the start of 2024.

“Our goal with adding curfew enforcement to our violence reduction plan is to send a clear message: if parents refuse to fulfill their responsibility, then the IMPD will do what is necessary to keep our children safe and alive,” IMPD Chris Chief Bailey said. “As adults, it’s our duty to make decisions that are in their best interest. As law enforcement, we must continually review and adjust our plans to deal with new or ongoing issues, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Bailey added that the curfew should not come at the expense of long term solutions that address the root causes of youth gun violence. 

The curfew law will mean that children who are younger than 15 may not be in a public space before 5 a.m. or after 11 p.m. on any day. While children between 15 and 17, may not be in public spaces during the following times:

  • between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Saturday or Sunday
  • after 11 p.m. on Sunday – Thursday 
  • before 5 a.m. on Monday – Friday

Exceptions to the curfew include: 

  • a juvenile who is accompanied by a parent, guardian or custodian or adult 
  • a juvenile who is accompanied by an adult specified by a parent, guardian or custodian 
  • a juvenile participating in, going to, or returning from work, a school sanctioned activity, a religious event, an emergency involving the protection of a person or property from an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or substantial damage, or an activity involving the exercise of the juveniles engaging in freedom of speech or the right of assembly 
  • a juvenile participating in an activity conducted by a nonprofit or governmental entity that provides recreation, education, training or other care under the supervision of an adult 
  • a juvenile participating in an activity with the prior written direction of the juvenile’s parent, guardian or custodian 
  • a juvenile traveling from outside Indiana to another location outside Indiana.

IMPD said that they will issue announcements via patrol car public address systems to any juveniles 30 minutes and 15 minutes before curfew, followed by an announcement when the curfew is in effect.

A curfew violation is a status offense, not a criminal act.

Children violating the curfew may be brought to a designated safe location by police, who will try to contact a parent, a guardian or a custodian of the child. If they are unable to connect with a parent or a custodian, the child would be taken to a juvenile detention center.

IMPD said that people should expect increased presence of uniformed and non-uniformed officers in multiple areas around the city starting this weekend.

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