Aulander enacts curfew

Published 12:06 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2009

AULANDER – Do you know where your children are at all hours of the night?

For those parents residing within Aulander or for those whose youngsters are visiting the town, your answer needs to be “yes” or else be prepared to pay a fine.

As of July 20, the Town of Aulander established a curfew for children under the age of 18. Currently, those violating the 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. daily curfew will be issued a warning, but as of Sept. 2 violators will be fined $50.

In an effort to safeguard children, the Aulander Town Council enacted the curfew at its July 20 meeting. The new regulation became a law at 7:45 p.m. that night.

“The reasoning behind this curfew is not to punish young people, but rather protect them from becoming a victim of a crime and to protect them from being exposed to criminal activity,” Aulander Police Officer Jimmy Barmer said.

According to the official wording of the curfew, the town “intends to promote the health, safety and welfare of juveniles and adults by creating an environment which offers better protection and security for all concerned.”

Barmer said the Aulander Council opted to make children and parents aware of the curfew by only issuing warnings over the first six weeks.

“Anytime you have something new it takes a while to get use to,” Barmer said. “That’s why we are only issuing warnings in the early going of this new curfew, but as of Sept. 2 we will begin writing citations for those found in violation.”

If the violator is at least 16 years of age, the citation will be issued in their name. The parents or guardians of violators under the age of 16 will be cited if their child breaks the curfew.

Additionally, the Bertie County Department of Social Services will be contacted if a child under the age of 12 is cited for a curfew violation.

In the case of repeat offenders, the parents/guardians will be fined.

“We want the kids at home where they need to be at these hours of the night and early morning,” Barmer said. “This curfew is designed to protect these children, but it should make the parents more accountable as to the whereabouts of their children. They need to be aware of where their children are and set guidelines for when they need to be home.”

Barmer and the other law enforcement officers working Aulander have noted an increase in the number of children on the streets after 11 p.m. In some cases, he said, young children have been seen on the streets as late as 1 a.m.

“This puts these children in harm’s way,” Barmer stressed. “Our town council has discussed this issue at previous meetings and they asked me to research what could be done. They took my research and developed a curfew that will work for Aulander.”

According to the curfew, a child under the age of 18 must be at home or in their yard by 11 p.m. each night and need to remain there until 6 a.m.

There are exceptions to the curfew. The most notable of which are:

A juvenile is allowed to attend or travel home from an organized activity;

If a juvenile is lawfully employed and on a direct route home from work; and

If a juvenile is in a motor vehicle traveling with a parent or legal guardian.