[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Bridgeport 9-13-1958 by Ord. No. 234, approved 9-15-1958 (Ch. 63 of the 1975 Code); amended in its entirety 10-25-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-011, approved 10-25-2016. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Loitering — See Ch. 339.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also amended the title of this chapter, which was formerly Curfew.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Curfew Ordinance."
The Borough Council finds that a need exists for the control of minors and the regulation of the use of the streets and parks of the Borough by such minors as herein prescribed for the public good, safety and welfare of the residents of the Borough of Bridgeport.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meanings given herein. When not inconsistent with the text, words used in the present tense shall include the future, words in the plural shall include the singular and words in the singular shall include the plural. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
- Is the Borough of Bridgeport, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
- Is any person under the age of 18 years or the equivalent phrasing often herein employed: 17 years or less in age.
- An individual, firm, association, partnership, or corporation operating, managing or conducting any establishment. The term includes the members or partners of an association or partnership and the officers of the corporations.
- Is any person having legal custody of a minor, a natural or adoptive parent or person to whom legal custody has been given by order of court.
- Is a place, of whatever nature, open to the use of the public as a matter of right for purposes of relaxation and/or health-related activities. The term "park" includes grass areas, playgrounds, athletic areas, walking paths, and any other feature within the park boundary. The term "park" applies irrespective of what it is called or formally named, whether park, field, path, or otherwise.
- To linger or unnecessarily stay, or fail to leave premises when requested by a police officer or the owner, operator, or other person in control of the premises.
- Is a way or place, of whatever nature, open to the use of the public as a matter of right for purposes of vehicular travel or, in the case of a sidewalk, for pedestrian travel. The term "street" includes the legal right-of-way, including but not limited to the cartway of traffic lanes, the curb, the sidewalks whether paved or unpaved, and any grass plots or other grounds within the legal right-of-way of a street. The term "street" applies irrespective of what it is called or formally named, whether alley, avenue, court, road, or otherwise.
- TIME OF NIGHT
- Referred to herein is based upon the prevailing standard of time whether Eastern Standard Time or Eastern Daylight Saving Time, generally observed at that hour by the public in the Borough, prima facie the time then observed in the Borough's administrative offices and police station.
- YEAR OF AGE
- Continues from one birthday, such as the 17th, to, but not including, the day of the next birthday, such as the 18th, making it clear that 17 years or less of age is equivalent to the phrase "under 18 years of age."
It shall be unlawful for any person 17 or less years of age (under 18) to be or remain in or upon any public place, the streets or parks or any establishment between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., of the following day, official Borough time, except that on Fridays and Saturdays the hours shall be 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., official Borough time.
A minor shall not be considered to be in violation of this chapter in the following exceptional cases:
When accompanied by the parent of said minor;
The minor possessing a written statement dated the day and signed by the minor's parent providing the authorization by the parent of such minor to take said parent's place in accompanying said minor for a designated period of time and purpose with a specified period of time;
When the minor is upon the sidewalk of the place where such minor resides or on the sidewalk of either next-door neighbor not communicating an objection to a police officer.
The minor possessing a written statement dated that day and signed by minor's parent, which specifies the necessity of the minor being in a public place contrary to this section.
The minor being lawfully employed making it necessary to be on or in highways, streets, parks, etc., and possessing a current letter from minor's parent and employer certifying the same.
The minor on an emergency errand.
It shall be unlawful for a parent having legal custody of a minor to knowingly permit or by inefficient control to allow such minor to be or remain upon the streets, parks, public places or establishments in and of the Borough under circumstances not constituting an exception to or otherwise beyond the scope of this chapter. The term "knowingly" shall be defined to include knowledge which a parent should be reasonably expected to have concerning the whereabouts of a minor in that parent's legal custody, and is intended to continue to keep neglectful or careless parents up to a community standard of parental responsibility through an objective test. It shall be no defense that a parent is or was completely indifferent to the activities or conduct or whereabouts of such minor.
A police officer of the Borough, upon finding or having attention called to any minor in an establishment, public place or on the streets or parks in prima facie violation of this chapter, shall normally take the minor to the Borough Police Station, where a parent shall be immediately notified to come for such minor, whereupon they shall be questioned. This is intended to ascertain pertinent and relevant facts, under Constitutional safeguards, and to centralize responsibilities of the office on duty for accurate, effective, fair, impartial, and uniform enforcement and recording. In the absence of convincing proof of age, such as a birth certificate, a police officer on the street shall in the first instance use his/her best judgment and experience in ascertaining the age of such minor.
Police procedures shall be constantly redefined in the light of experience and may provide, inter alia, that a policeman may deliver to a parent thereof a minor under appropriate circumstances, e.g., a minor of tender age, near home, whose identity and address may be readily ascertained or are known.
In any event such police officer shall within 24 hours file a written report with the Mayor and Chief of Police stating the circumstances, action, results and disposition of each case.
When a parent has been immediately called and has come to take charge of the minor, and the appropriate information has been recorded, the minor shall be released to the custody of such parent. If the parent cannot be located or fails to take custody of the minor, then the minor shall be released to the juvenile authorities, except to the extent that in accordance with Departmental regulation, previously approved by the juvenile authorities, the minor may be temporarily entrusted to a relative, neighbor or other person who will on behalf of the parent assume the responsibility of caring for the minor or pending the arrival or availability of the parent.
In the case of a first violation by a minor, the Chief of Police shall, by certified mail, send to the parent a written notice of said violation with a warning that subsequent violation will result in full enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, including the sections on parental responsibilities and penalties.
If, after a warning notice issued pursuant to the authority of § 218-7 of this chapter, a parent violates § 218-6, by knowingly permitting or allowing such minor to be or remain in an establishment, public place or on the streets or parks of the Borough in violation of this chapter, a parent in violation hereof may be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000, plus costs, and in default of payment of said fine and costs, to imprisonment of a term not to exceed 30 days.
Severability is intended throughout and within the provisions of this chapter. If any provision and inter alia any exception, part, phrase or term of the application thereof to any person or circumstance is found to be invalid, the application to other persons and circumstances shall not be affected thereby, and the validity of this chapter in any and all other respects shall not be affected thereby. A constitutional construction is intended in all cases and shall be given; Council does not intend to violate the provisions of the Constitution of the United States of America or of the Constitution of Pennsylvania.