Even though summer days may mean sleeping in for most teens, it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to ignore city-wide curfew.

Phoenix’s curfew law says kids 15 and younger need to be indoors by 10 p.m. Sixteen and 17 year olds need to be inside by midnight. Phoenix police say the law is about safety.

“During the summer months children typically find themselves with additional free time,” said Lt. Matt Giordano of the Phoenix Police Department. “Parents should be cognizant of where their children are going, who they will be with, and at what time they will return. In our experience, children who are victims of random violence or find themselves on the wrong side of the law are not where their parents believed them to be.”

The law does not mean to parent children. Sgt. Trent Crump of the Phoenix Police Department said the law is meant to be a guideline and there are exemptions for legitimate activities like running errands or coming to and from a job with a parent’s permission.

If kids are caught past curfew with no legitimate reason except their parents allowing them – the parents may be held responsible.

“Their role in it is it’s their responsibility to have their juvenile kids in home or in their authorized place during the hours of curfew,” Crump said. “The city of Phoenix also has a city ordinance that can fine the parents if the parents willfully allow their kids to break the curfew law so there is a level of responsibility for the parents in the city code as well.”

Crump said the first time a teen is caught breaking curfew the city uses a diversion program. The child must go through a course and do some community service. It’s not meant to punish but to educate families on the purpose and importance of curfew law. Any fees for breaking curfew are assigned by a judge.

Crump added that he doesn’t think Phoenix has a huge problem with curfew but that the department does have officers dedicated to enforcing curfew. It’s the responsibility of parents and teens to work together to ensure curfew is kept, he said.

“Curfews are set for the safety of the kids,” Crump said. “You have to think as a parent what are the legitimate reasons for my 14-year-old to be out past 10, 11 or 12 p.m. at night. If you have a legitimate reason then that’s fine but that really is what the curfew law is about.”

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