ANTIOCH — Thirty-seven minors were detained July 8 after a citywide curfew sweep made by the Antioch Police Department and a group of nonprofit counselors.
An Antioch city ordinance prevents minors from hanging out on city streets or public areas. According to police Capt. Leonard Orman, specific officers were assigned to certain areas of the community to be on watch for minors out past the 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.
“We had a preset reception area through the REACH Project, a nonprofit counseling center,” Orman said. “We found folks and brought them to the reception area where REACH Project contacted their parents to pick up their children.”
The REACH Project Inc. will also provide follow-up “juvenile diversion” services where detained minors will get training in decision making, responsibility and the law.
“As a parent I told my kids nothing good happens after midnight and I believe that is true. This is a way to educate parents and educate kids by putting the curfew back in (the forefront),” Orman said.
City officials were prompted to revisit the ordinance after a minor was murdered at a local movie theater in 2007. It was later decided that juveniles should be protected from becoming victims of crime or in positions to commit crimes.
“The ordinance was adopted to promote safety of the city’s youngest most vulnerable residents from becoming participants or victims of crime,” Lt. Scott Willerford stated in a press release.
Several other sweeps are scheduled this summer but most curfew sweeps are done randomly. The department hopes these sweeps encourage minors and their parents to become more accountable and responsible. But with staff and budget cuts Orman says the department has not been able to enforce the curfew like it wants to.
“It’s a necessity for us to have groups like REACH Project fill this role for us,” the captain said. “We would not be able to do this without them.”