Port Arthur Police request change to juvenile curfew in city

Published 12:38 am Saturday, May 14, 2022

The first of two public hearings will take place next week regarding a request by the Port Arthur Police Department to amend the city’s juvenile curfew in an attempt to reduce crime rates.

Deputy Chief Jeremy Houston recently approached City Council about the change, saying it is one of multiple steps the department is looking to take.

“Due to the number of incidents involving juvenile offenders, the police department is taking proactive measures to address some of those concerns,” he said. “One way to address this is by amending and possibly making modifications to the existing juvenile curfew ordinance.”

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Houston is requesting the ordinance, first adopted in 1992, begin one hour earlier. Currently the curfew is in effect from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. The amendment would make the time 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

“Our hope is that by making those modifications to the ordinance, that this will cause a decrease in incidents involving juvenile offenders here in our city,” Houston said.

Currently the ordinance makes exceptions for minors traveling to or from school functions, traveling to or from work, or with a parent or guardian.

“We want to address those who are just out and about,” the deputy chief said.

City Attorney Valecia Tizeno said the council is required to review the ordinance related to the curfew every three years.

“We adopted the most recent ordinance in 2020,” she said. “And we’re not up to review it again, just for clarification, until 2023. But there have been some circumstances in which the police department contacted us and informed us that they would like for us to make an amendment to the existing 2020 curfew ordinance.”

Tizeno said to remain compliant, the city will still review the ordinance next year.

Next week’s public hearing will take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 444 4th Street.