OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City Council approved an immediate curfew change Tuesday for the Bricktown Entertainment District for people younger than 18 who are unaccompanied by a parent, guardian, or responsible adult.
The new curfew is in effect from 9 p.m. and ends at 6 a.m., seven days a week for Bricktown and Lower Bricktown to the Oklahoma River.
This is the first curfew change in the district since it was set to 11 p.m. back in 2006.
“This is a multi-prong approach to create better safety and security and comfort not only for the business owners but the people who plan on patronizing these businesses and being a part of what Bricktown has to offer,” said Councilmember Nikki Nice.
“This is for [youth] safety [and] this is for us to ensure they are protected and can get home and are safe,” she continued.
Guidance indicates that the new Bricktown curfew requires police officers to ask the juvenile’s age and reason for being in the area before taking enforcement action.
Enforcement exceptions include, but are not limited to, when the juvenile:
- is with a parent or responsible adult
- is working or returning to or from work
- Is attending, going to, or returning home from an event such as a ball game or movie
- is going to or returning home from an official school, religious, or recreational activity supervised by adults
- is involved in an emergency
Bricktown business owners hope the decision to push teen curfews to 9 p.m. will curb crime in the popular district, which saw a string of stabbings over the weekend at the Pink Parrot nightclub.
However, the stabbings have not been linked to anyone under the age of 18.
“We’re enabling them to create an environment where violence can happen,” said Bricktown Brewery Managing Partner Charles Stout during Tuesday’s meeting.
“We fully support the change to the curfew for a number of reasons,” added Jenny Lawrence, who serves as General Manager of Harkins Theaters.
“Mainly, we get a lot of middle school age kids hanging around. They don’t come to Bricktown to come to our theater. I don’t actually see them doing a lot of business in the Bricktown area. They just want to hang out. They tend to get into large groups and then frictions happen, fights break out and that sort of thing,” she continued.
Though the shift models a trend in youth curfews implemented in hundreds of other large cities around the country, there’s concern they may not be effective in reducing crime, according to a 2016 analysis from the Campbell Collaboration suggests that juvenile curfews do not reduce crime or victimization.
Moreover, nearly one-fifth of violent crimes committed by youth occur in the four hours between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on school days, according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Just two of seven Oklahoma City Council Members voted against the measure,
“The goal is always voluntary compliance and I worry that we hear the message, but I don’t see it [when] police are interacting with our residents,” said Councilmember JoBeth Hamon, expressing concern that violations could lead to unnecessary run-ins between youth and police.
“There are other ways to engage youth and improve safety,” she added.