Huntersville police are warning parents of children under age 16 that the department is now strictly enforcing a youth curfew law, calling it a safety issue for both juveniles and adults.
The warning was posted on Facebook and noted the growing number of complaints filed by businesses about underage youths lingering into the late night around Birkdale Village. Police are not restricting enforcement to the Birkdale Village area.
Youths between the ages of 13 and 15 are not supposed to be out in public places or on business property from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. Parents may be cited if they knowingly permit or allow a juvenile to remain out during the restricted hours. Parents could be fined $50 or even face jail time.
For children 12 and under, the curfew is 10 p.m. until 6 a.m.
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Shoppers seemed to love the stepped-up security, based on social media response. Complaints posted online included talk of increased littering, graffiti, underage smoking and cars full of teens lingering in the parking lot, blasting loud music.
“If I had a business there I would be concerned. I rarely go on the weekend because of all the kids just congregating,” posted Jennifer Andrews Magnuson.
“Thank goodness! I hate going to the movies then coming out late at night to find such young children wandering around, up to no good,” wrote Kristen King on Facebook.
“It’s hard … in summer time for people that work in this area with these irresponsible kids,” posted Susana Romero.
“Thumbs up on the curfew, although I think it should be 10 p.m.,” wrote David Dworak on Facebook. “This is one of only a few places they can hang out.”
Birkdale Village denied social media speculation that the decision was based on an increase in crime around the shopping center. “We are being proactive and increasing security during the summer months as more visitors are expected to the area,” said a Facebook post from Birkdale Village.
In 2009, Northlake Mall in Charlotte launched its own curfew, requiring adult supervision for anyone under age 18 on Fridays and Saturdays after 5 p.m.
Charlotte has had a citywide youth curfew in place since 1995 and revised it in 2011, after a late-night uptown shooting. Like the Huntersville curfew, it forbids children 12 and under to be out after 10, and youths 13 to 15 to be out after 11 p.m.
Pineville also has a curfew, in place since 2007.