Curfew Joint Venture with YMCA Nears End

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Only one week remains for the night curfew program that’s being operated by the City of Columbus and the YMCA. It’s an effort to remove young people who are on the street past certain hours.

A city ordinance requires children under age 13 to be off the streets one hour after sunset. Teens ages 13 to 17 need to be home by midnight. Those who’ve violated the curfew on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays this summer have been taken to the downtown YMCA. But the number of violators has been surprisingly small says Don Heard, director of the Central Y’s Juvenile Justice program

“The total for the summer is 26 so far,” Heard says. “We’ve got one more weekend to go.”

Heard attributes the low number to an effective media campaign. But he says only a little more than a third of the teens picked up have completed the mandatory 3-hour classroom course required for both child and parent or guardian.

“About 38 percent attended the workshops,” Heard says. “So what we’ve done in the meantime is sent letters out to people who haven’t attended the workshops to give them an opportunity to attend a make-up class. And after that that information is going to be forwarded over to the city of Columbus.”

The program has cost about $75,000. In spite of the surprisingly low number of violators Heard says he believes the curfew has been a success.

“You know, I’m surprised at the numbers. We expected to have a larger number of kids participate in the program but, all in all, I think there were 26 kids who were out on the street who are not on the street. If we saved one life and one child had been a victim then I think the program has been well worth it.”

August 23rd is the final night of the Y’s involvement, though the curfew is in place for young people year ’round.