[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Clairton 9-14-1993 by Ord. No. 1559. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Temporary outdoor activities — See Ch. 141.
Graffiti — See Ch. 213.
Loitering and prowling — See Ch. 228.
Parks and recreation areas — See Ch. 255.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 173, Curfew, adopted 8-14-1973 by Ord. No. 1249 as Ch. 80 of the 1973 Code.
This is a Curfew Ordinance of and for the City of Clairton establishing, in accordance with prevailing community standards, regulations for the conduct of minors on streets and other public places at night for the protection of such children in the City from each other and from other persons on the streets during nighttime hours, for the enforcement of parental control and responsibility for their children, for the protection of the public from mischief by minors and for the reduction in the incidents of juvenile criminal activity during nighttime hours, for the furtherance of family responsibility and for the public good, safety and welfare.
Council finds that the curfew meets a very real local need and, when enforced, can provide a significant deterrent to juvenile delinquency and problems associated with minors. Clairton is a mature community consisting of mainly quiet residential neighborhoods and with a populace whose median age is 39.3 years (according to the 1990 census). Attitudes of the people of Clairton with regard to social mores and ideals are adequately reflected by the slogan "Welcome to Clairton, City of Prayer." In other words, the community is one with a strong sense of propriety regarding the correct time for cessation of nocturnal activities, especially where the minors of the City are concerned. This sense of propriety regarding the cessation of nighttime activities is reflected in this chapter.
The City of Clairton is by no means overcrowded. The City contains within its 2.4 square miles the Clairton Park, an open grassland of approximately 150 acres and containing baseball fields, basketball and tennis courts and a community swimming pool. Several neighborhood playgrounds are also located in residential areas around the City. The majority of the residential areas in the City are occupied by single-family dwellings, and only four multiple-unit complexes can be found in the City, one of which is for senior citizens. A total of 4,676 housing units exist in the City of Clairton to accommodate a population of 9,656. Thus, as a general rule, the people of Clairton cannot be said to be overcrowded in their living arrangements. Adequate indoor living space, then, permits minors in the City of Clairton to healthfully occupy time spent indoors. Commercial recreational facilities are virtually nonexistent, so there is little for minors to do after dark other than loiter or roam the streets after the curfew hours established in this chapter.
The Council finds that there are 2,054 minors, as reflected in census figure for persons under 18 years of age, residing in the City of Clairton. Six hundred nineteen of these minors are under the age of five, leaving 1,435 minors between the ages of five and 17. According to the census information, only 1,403 of these minors are enrolled in either elementary school or high school. The City of Clairton, then, is left with slightly more than 100 students per school grades kindergarten through 12. An additional 108 students were enrolled in preprimary education.
The Council further finds that the overall population of Clairton is 9,656, according to the 1990 census. There are 2,646 households in the City, 1,720 of which are married-family households, and 767 of which are households headed by a female with no husband present. While slightly under 1/3 (32.5%) of the married-family households include children under the age of 18, over half (54.4%) of all female-headed households include such minors. The City of Clairton cannot, therefore, be classified as a "stable family community." Because of the high number of single-parent households, parental responsibility for and control of minors is often ineffective and, therefore, the Council has determined that the City administration must provide additional controls to reduce the presence and accumulation of minors in the City during nocturnal hours, the hazards posed to minors during such periods and the incidence of juvenile delinquency in the City.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
- Person under the age of 18 years.
- Any natural parent of a minor, as herein defined, or a guardian, or any adult person responsible for the care and custody of a minor. When used in this chapter, "parent" shall mean one or both parents.
- PUBLIC PLACE
- Any public street, alley, sidewalk, park, playground, public building or vacant lot in the City.
- To stay behind, to tarry and to stay unnecessarily upon the streets, including the congregating of groups (or of interacting minors) totaling four or more persons in which any minor involved would not be using the streets for emergencies or ordinary purposes such as mere passage of going home.
[Amended 5-8-2007 by Ord. No. 1795; 4-13-2010 by Ord. No. 1835]
It shall be unlawful for any minor to be or remain in or upon any public street, sidewalk, park or other public place within the City or in any enclosure or vehicle which is on or in close proximity to any such public place within the City during the following periods:
Exceptions to the prohibitions contained in § 173-4 above are the following:
A minor accompanied by a parent, guardian or other person having legal care or custody of such minor.
A minor possessing a written statement dated that day and signed by the minor's parent, guardian or other person having the legal care or custody of such minor, specifying the time, place, purpose and necessity of the minor being in a public place contrary to the provisions of this chapter.
A minor lawfully employed making it necessary to be upon any street or public place as stated above and possessing a current letter certifying the same and signed by the minor's employer, parent or guardian.
A minor on an emergency errand or similar circumstances demonstrating reasonable necessity, but only when such minor possesses a parental permission statement as required in § 173-5B above, or when such minor's parent has communicated to the City's Department of Public Safety or police station the facts establishing such emergency or reasonable necessity, including information relating to the destination, route and purpose of the minor and the designated times of the errand.
A minor traveling directly to or from a school, church or municipal activity, but only when prior notice of such activity has been given to the Department of Public Safety or police station by the minor's parent or the sponsor of such activity.
It shall be unlawful for any parent, guardian or other person having legal care or custody of a minor to allow or permit a minor to violate any of the provisions of this chapter without legal justification as provided herein.
Any minor found upon the streets, sidewalks, parks or other public places within the City in violation of § 173-4 shall, upon giving proper identification to a police officer of the City, including the minor's name, place of residence and names and telephone number of parents, be directed by the police officer to return immediately to the minor's place of residence. Should such minor fail or refuse to give such identification or fail or refuse to return to his or her residence, then the minor may be taken into custody by the police officer and delivered into the custody of the minor's parent or taken to the City police station and the minor's parent shall be located and directed to appear at the City police station and take custody of the minor. A report shall be made to the Director of Public Safety and the minor's parent shall be notified of each violation and informed of the penalty provisions of this chapter. Upon the third violation, the parent of the minor shall be cited for the violation.
Any minor who shall violate this chapter more than three times may, at the discretion of the proper City officials, be reported to a society or organization the purpose of which is to take charge of incorrigibles and delinquents, and proceedings shall then be taken in the proper court for the permanent welfare of such minor and a like procedure may be taken in cases where the arrest of the parent is not effective or where for any other reason the provisions of § 173-4 of this chapter cannot be made effective by the imposition of fines and penalties.
Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $600, and in default of payment, to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 30 days.
The police officers of the City in taking minors into custody shall use their discretion in determining age and in doubtful cases may require positive proof of age. Until such proof is furnished, the officer's judgment shall prevail.