[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Sewickley 5-17-1993 by Ord. No. 1124 (Ch. 6, Part 1, of the 1996 Code of Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Council of the Borough of Sewickley finds as follows:
The Borough is unusually compact with an area of approximately one square mile.
Most of the land in the Borough is devoted to residential use. The Borough also contains a well-patronized business area and several institutional or civic uses, such as the Sewickley Valley Hospital and the YMCA.
The Borough has developed and maintained a quiet, stable, family-oriented type of residential environment.
A number of incidents have recently occurred wherein groups of youths under age 18 have intimidated, threatened, harassed and physically attacked individuals on Borough streets and sidewalks or have damaged property in the commercial district at night.
These incidents have deprived those individuals who were so intimated, threatened, harassed and attacked of their constitutional rights to freely walk, stroll or otherwise move at will through the Borough.
Because of the Borough's compact area, these incidents have caused citizens throughout the Borough to become concerned for their safety while outside at night, and these incidents have had a chilling effect upon the exercise of citizens' constitutional rights to walk, stroll or otherwise move at will through the Borough at night.
These incidents have impaired the quiet residential atmosphere and environment prized by the Borough citizens.
A large percentage of Borough residents are elderly and are especially threatened by groups of youths on the street at night.
The Borough's largest employer, Sewickley Valley Hospital, has a substantial number of employees going to and from the hospital at night, of which the majority are female persons who may be especially subject to intimidation, threats or harassment by youths on the streets at night.
A curfew would have permitted easier detection and dispersal of the youths who caused the said incidents.
A curfew would increase the safety of citizens, and particularly elderly and female persons, lawfully exercising their rights to use and enjoy Borough streets at night and would diminish the chilling effect upon their exercise of such rights that has resulted from the said incidents.
The Borough provides through its parks and streets ample opportunities for all minors to associate and congregate and socialize and move about with others during noncurfew hours.
The Borough Council finds that, because of the particular vulnerability of minors, their inability to make critical decisions in an informed, mature manner, and the importance of the parental role in child-rearing, a juvenile curfew ordinance is necessary to protect the Borough's youths.
The Borough Council recognizes that, in conjunction with the exercise of its police powers, it must uphold and protect the constitutional freedoms provided to each citizen, including minors, under the state and federal constitutions.
Because of the increasing incidents of juvenile crime, especially gang- and drug-related activities in Pittsburgh and other area municipalities, the Borough Council finds that a curfew is necessary to prevent and/or limit the occurrence of such incidents in the Borough.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
- A person under the age of 18 years.
- Any person having a legal custody of a minor, including either or both natural or adoptive parents, a legal guardian, a person who stands in loco parentis, or a person to whom legal custody has been given by order of court.
- PUBLIC PLACE
- Any street, park, playground or Borough premises in the Borough of Sewickley.
- To stay behind, to tarry and to stay unnecessarily upon the Borough streets, including the congregating of groups of minors in which any minor involved does not fall within one of the stated exceptions of this chapter. Exceptions are expressly defined in § 163-4.
- Any street, sidewalk, way, place, alley, court, avenue or right-of-way open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular or pedestrian travel, including any opened street as defined in the Borough Code, 8 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 101.1 and 1701. The term "street" also applies for curfew purposes to ways the public is privileged to use over private property so long as the owner permits, including sidewalks and grass plots similarly open to public use, and public parking lots or areas.
In this chapter, the singular shall include the plural; the plural shall include the singular; and the masculine shall include the feminine and the neuter.
It shall be unlawful for any minor to be or remain in or upon any public place or streets as defined herein within the Borough of Sewickley between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. prevailing time.
The prohibited activity set forth in § 163-3 is subject to the following exceptions:
A minor accompanied by his or her parent or by the minor's child.
A minor exercising first amendment or other constitutional rights protected by the Pennsylvania or United States Constitutions, such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech and the right of assembly, provided that, prior to such exercise, the minor has delivered to the Borough Municipal Building a written communication addressed to the Borough Police Department, signed by such minor and countersigned, if practicable, by a parent of such minor, with their home address and telephone number, specifying the hours, the street location and the manner said minor will be on the streets at night during the hours stated in this Curfew Ordinance in the exercise of the constitutional rights specified in such communication.
A minor on his way to or from or in the course of lawful employment making it necessary to be in a public place and possessing a current letter certifying the same and signed by an employer or parent.
A minor accompanied by an adult authorized by the minor's parent to take said parent's place in accompanying said minor for a designated period of time and purpose and in a designated area, such designations to be contained in a written note signed and dated by the minor's parent and carried by the minor or the accompanying adult on his or her person.
A minor acting in an emergency.
A minor whose parent has given prior notice to the Borough Police Department that the minor will be on designated streets at a designated time for a purpose the parent deems reasonably necessary and the minor's point of origin and destination, such prior notice to be given by telephone call made by the parent or by written notice signed by the parent.
A minor while participating in or traveling directly to or directly home from an activity conducted or sponsored by a church, school, municipal body or civic or institutional organization, with written permission dated and signed by a parent specifying the time, place, purpose and necessity of the minor being in a public place contrary to this chapter and the name of the organization conducting the activity in question.
When the minor is on the sidewalk of the place where such minor resides or on the sidewalk of either next-door neighbor.
When the minor is, with parental consent, in a motor vehicle in the course of travel through the Borough.
Any minor found in violation of § 163-3 shall be taken into custody by the Borough Police or legally deputized individual and be taken to the Police Department office. The minor's parents shall be contacted and notified to come for the minor, who shall then be released into parental custody. Where a minor's parents are not readily available or in other cases where taking the minor to the police station would be in the officer's best judgment impractical, inefficient or otherwise interfere with other police duties, the police officer may deliver the minor to his residence. Both the parent(s) and the offending minor shall be given an initial verbal warning of the violation and a copy of this chapter. A report shall be filed and kept in a book for that specific purpose.
Any parent who shall knowingly permit a minor to be or remain in a public place in violation of § 163-3 of this chapter after an initial warning shall be cited for the violation and subject to the penalty provisions contained in this chapter.
Any minor who shall violate § 163-3 of this chapter after an initial warning shall be cited for the violation and subject to the penalty provisions contained in this chapter.
Police officers of the Borough of Sewickley 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.
In the event a minor is taken to the Borough of Sewickley Police Station, the minor shall only be detained in the administrative offices of the Police Department and shall not be placed in contact with any prisoners or adult detainees and shall be detained only until such time as the minor is escorted home.
[Amended 2-19-1996 by Ord. No. 1159]
Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of $50, and for each subsequent parental offense the fine shall be increased by an additional $50; for example, $100 for a second offense, $150 for a third offense, not to exceed $600 plus costs and, in default of payment of said fine and costs, to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 days.