Alderman Napolitano says more needs to be done to address Chicago’s violence but questions whether the new 10 p.m. weekend curfew for teens will deter young criminals
by BRIAN NADIG
At least two area aldermen have concerns about whether Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to change the citywide weekend curfew from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m. is necessary or will be an effective tool in curbing violence.
“I support it where there have been problems, but I suppose you can’t just pick and choose (certain areas),” Alderman Nicholas Sposato (38th) said. He added that the earlier curfew will“punish” teens in safe neighborhoods.
“I don’t like it, but I’m fine with anything that (could) help us get ahead of these crime issues,” said Alderman Anthony Napolitano (41st).
However, Napolitano questioned whether the earlier curfew will serve as an effective deterrent. “Curfew is the easiest of laws to break,” he said, adding that the “vast majority” of those causing problems are not going to be worried about curfew.
Napolitano said that the city should start “hitting mom and dad’s pocketbook” by issuing fines for their child’s criminal conduct, including vandalism. “You have to start hurting them in the pocketbook,” he said.
Last year Napolitano introduced the Chicago Criminal Accountability Ordinance, but he said, “It’s still in committee.” The proposed ordinance calls for the collected fines to go toward the city’s state-mandated pension obligations.
At a Monday morning news conference, Lightfoot announced that she will be signing an executive order to change the weekend curfew from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m. for those 16 and under following a weekend of violence that included a 16-year-old being fatally shot at about 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 14, near the “The Bean” attraction at Millennium Park in Downtown Chicago. A 17-year-old has been charged with the murder.
Lightfoot also announced that unaccompanied minors will not be allowed at Millennium Park after 6 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.
“It gives me no pleasure to impose these rules and restrictions,” Lightfoot said.
Parents are letting children as young as 10-years-old go Downtown on their own at night, Lightfoot said.
“That’s simply not smart and not safe,”:she said. “In my day when the streetlights came on, I knew I had to be home.”
Police “will exhaust all other efforts” before they take enforcement action against teens who violate the new 10 p.m. curfew, Lightfoot said.
Parents should consider the wide array of age-appropriate activities available at their local parks and libraries for their children and that in general teenagers are not looking for trouble when they gather, Lightfoot said. “They just want to be together and have fun,” she said.
Weekday curfew in Chicago remains 10 p.m.
On the Northwest Side, a teenager suffered a gunshot wound to his back during a Monday afternoon, May 9, incident involving several individuals in the 3200 block of North Lockwood Avenue. The injured 15-year-old reportedly possessed a gun and was arrested, according to police.
Several aldermen said that the mayor’s office did not notify them of the planned curfew change and that they learned about it from the media.