Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has implemented a 10 PM weekend curfew for minors. Here’s everything you need to know about the new restrictions.
The curfew announcement follows a tragic shooting at Millennium Park over the weekend. The event, which occurred near The Bean, prompted this new curfew after a teen was killed. Lightfoot recently announced that as of this weekend, evening and nighttime access to public spaces including the park will be restricted. Minors will be allowed in the park after 6 PM, Thursday through Sunday but only if they’re accompanied by an adult. The Chicago Police Department has orders to enforce the curfew, though Lightfoot says she wants to educate teens and parents on the new rules, and doesn’t want to arrest unaccompanied teens en masse. Lightfoot says police will use deescalation tactics and dispersal tools for any unaccompanied teen, noting they plan to exhaust all options before moving to make an arrest.
There has been a recent upswing of teens in the downtown area, which Lightfoot pointed out comes from teens wanting to hang out outside. After a chaotic scene in downtown, where hundreds of teens flooded the streets this weekend, stopping traffic and causing ‘chaos’ has now led to this imposed curfew after the night took a turn and resulted in violence.
A clause in the 10 PM curfew would still allow teens to travel home after events like music festivals including Lollapalooza, and ballgames in the city. Yet those events are considered to be mainly for tourists. Teens attending any nighttime festival or ballgame must provide ‘documentary evidence’ such as a ticket or wristband to show they attended the event.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois has come out to criticize the curfew, saying in a statement that the promise of “strict enforcement will result in unnecessary stop and arrests and further strain relations between CPD and young people of color.”
Local youth activists have spoken out as well, calling attention to the idea that discouraging teens from hanging out in places in downtown where they feel safe will only cause an uptick of violence in neighborhoods.
While the city has imposed an 11 PM curfew for minors over the years, this new 10 PM curfew was met with dissent. There is little information as to how this curfew will be enforced. City officials plan to post signs stating the new curfew around the area, and hope minors will comply.
[Featured photo from Unsplash]