Parents can get a citation if children break Birmingham’s curfew ordinance

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 11:32 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We’re digging deeper into the city of Birmingham’s curfew ordinance after three kids were shot this week, with two high school students losing their lives.

Two of the shootings happened late night, calling for Birmingham Police to remind parents of the city’s curfew. Kids under 17 are not allowed out after 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 p.m. on the weekends.

Birmingham police officers use their discretion with the city’s curfew ordinance, because there are exceptions written in that allow some kids to be out late night. But, if the case calls for a citation, the violation doesn’t go to the child, it goes to the parent.

“It’s hard,” Birmingham Police Chief Scott Thurmond said. “It’s tough. You have to tell them they have to be home by a certain time.”

Birmingham Police urging parents and teenagers to follow the city’s curfew ordinance. That means kids are inside by 9 p.m. on school nights and 11 p.m. on weekends. Birmingham City Schools are on spring break right now and Thurmond said they anticipated more kids out at night.

“The weather gets warm, people go out more,” Thurmond said. “It’s difficult for us to combat. If you look at this week, we put out about the curfew intentionally, last week leading into spring break. We proposedly plan those walks for the week of spring break. We purposely plan them for the afternoon when more people are out.”

Birmingham Police Chief Scott Thurmond said he’s not sure if officers have issued any curfew violations this spring break. There are exceptions written into the ordinance for different situations, like working teens, coming from school or church, and being right outside your house. The first step of the rules calls for police to release kids to their parents and issue a citation if necessary.

“If we see someone out who we believe is under age, we will stop and identify them, see what they are doing, what their age is, and then we will have to move forward from there,” Thurmond said.

This week, multiple teenagers have been involved in shootouts and caught by police, but Thurmond said it’s hard to issue citations in each case.

“They’re juveniles,” he said. “We can’t find their parents to get them to come up here for questioning. One of the female even told us ‘I don’t have time to deal with this. I need to go home, I need to be home by 7 a.m.’ Well, 7 a.m. is not an acceptable curfew. It’s difficult for us to make cases to the District Attorney’s Office when you have no cooperation.”

The ordinance said parents can get a citation and have to appear in court. The fine can cost up to $500, and after two fines, parents can get jail time.

“If you’re not home by a certain time, there are consequences,” Thurmond said. “You have to evoke those consequences and make sure they are adhered to.”

In one of the deadly shootings this week, multiple teenagers were found drinking and out around 2:30 in the morning. Chief Thurmond said they are still investigating that case to see if any parents will be cited.

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