Chief Nelson says curfew citations dropped 58 percent in 5 years, proof the ordinance is working


Last Updated on January 5, 2016 – 1:08 PM CST

Dumas Police Chief Jim Nelson on Monday gave the City Commissioners statistics that show the curfew for minors established in 1996 is working. According to Nelson’s figures, the number of curfew citations issued dropped 58 percent from 2010 to 2015, and the number of juveniles detained after midnight for other violations dropped 33 percent from 2013 to 2015.

The city adopted the ordinance on Jan. 10, 1996, and it has no expiration date. In Nelson’s letter to the commissioners, he said, “… periodically the Ordinance has to be revisited to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of the same.” The commissioners voted to keep the ordinance.

Nelson’s numbers contradict some opinions that say curfews for minors don’t have an impact on crime. But, a study conducted by The Journal of the American Medical Association shows it does have an impact. That study shows 41 percent of motor vehicle deaths among teenagers occurred between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., and the crash rates are lower in states with curfews. They declined by 25 percent in Michigan and 27 percent in North Carolina. Those statistics, along with Nelson’s, would show the curfew works.

The ordinance states the curfew in Dumas for anyone under 18 years old who isn’t married or “emancipated from the disabilities of minority by court order” is from 12:30 a.m. to 6 a.m., and a minor found in any public place without adult supervision during those hours could be guilty of a Class C Misdemeanor. Also, parents or guardians who allow a minor to be out during those hours also could be found guilty of a Class C Misdemeanor. The fine for a minor would $10-$500. For a parent or guardian, it would be $200-$500.

If a minor is working during the curfew hours can apply for a permit from the Dumas Police Department. Other allowances are made for:

  • Any child who attends an organized event including, but not limited to, church, school, supervised club, or organization trips or functions shall be allowed 30 minutes from the conclusion of the trip or function to travel home.
  • Any child who is exercising first amendment rights of free speech, religion, or lawful assembly after prior notice to the Chief of Police of the city of Dumas.
  • Any child involved in a case of “reasonable necessity” after parental notification of the police.
  • Any child located on said child’s sidewalk or that of said child’s next-door neighbors.
  • Any child attending a meeting of one of the groups permitted by a special regulation.
  • Any child traveling in a motor vehicle in interstate travel
  • Any child excepted from curfew by a formal rule declared by the City Commission for 17 year olds.
  • Any child acting in an emergency which reasonably requires the child’s presence in a public place during the hours prohibited.