Council votes to reestablish 10 p.m. curfew for minors

The City Council voted unanimously Monday to reestablish a curfew for minors in San Diego that had been struck down by a state appeals court.

San Diego’s curfew law had been suspended since Feb. 4, with the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled that it was unconstitutionally broad because it didn’t include an exception for minors to travel to and from certain authorized activities.

To remedy the court’s concerns, the City Attorney’s Office crafted a revised ordinance. The City Council passed it as an emergency ordinance so that it would take effect immediately.

The vote means it is once again a misdemeanor for minors under 18 to be out between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., except for an emergency, accompanied by an adult or attending a supervised school, religious or recreational activity.

Deputy City Attorney John Hemmerling testified that language changes in the revised ordinance should pass muster with the court.

“We believe this will withstand scrutiny,” Hemmerling told the council.

San Diego Police Department Assistant Chief Boyd Long said the city’s curfew law is an important enforcement tool to prevent juveniles from becoming victims of crime.

“We strongly believe the curfew ordinance is a tool to keep our children safe,” he told the City Council.

Boyd cited a “direct correlation” between the city’s curfew law and a 15 percent drop in violent crimes against juveniles last year.

Councilman Tony Young said city’s curfew law has also led to a decline in gang homicides.

“Think about how many lives have been saved simply because we have a process to get these kids off the street,” he said.