Tulsa Teen Curfew

Monday, June 26th 2006, 5:40 am
By: News On 6

Four Tulsa teenagers arrested for crimes that were committed after the city's curfew. Tulsa Police say the number of late night, unsupervised minors soar in the summertime.

Officers say they enforce the curfew, but as News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin explains, without parental backup, officers can barely make a dent in the problem.

It's no secret that some Tulsa spots turn into an underage after-hours hangout, especially in the summertime.

What's surprising to some is after more than a decade under a city curfew, 11 PM weekdays, midnight on Friday and Saturday, Tulsa Police still have their hands full with teens causing trouble late at night.

Around 1 AM Monday, Tulsa Police tried to stop a stolen car. Officers say three teenagers jumped out near Admiral and Harvard and ran off. The trio was eventually rounded up and arrested. Another teen was caught in a stolen truck early Monday as well. Not only was these crimes were committed after curfew, police say one of the suspects wasn't old enough to drive.

So far this year, Tulsa Police have issued 477 curfew citations. Tulsa Police officer Scott Walton: "it's mom and dad holding their children accountable for honoring the curfew. If there's no guidelines set up within the structure of the home, obviously it's something that we'll contact on the street."

Police say parents need to know it's not just the kids branded 'bad' that they're dealing with. "Good kids can often find themselves in the wrong crowd, doing the wrong thing." That's why Walton says he's a big advocate of kids being in structured programs. "Things that keep them busy during the day, tired at night, sleep well and go do productive things the next day."

Tulsa Police say the curfew does serve its purpose, setting a guideline that must be reinforced by parents at home. Scott Walton: "You think of situations on South Memorial drive where there's cruising, juvenile activities, things of that nature even in those environments, kids that have a structured home life and discipline will disappear at curfew time."

Parents can be held legally responsible for their kid’s actions and must appear in court with their child when a curfew citation is issued.

Authorities say kids at organized community events or going to and from work are not the people they have trouble with. The law is designed to target those out roaming the streets, looking for trouble.