Philadelphia imposes tough teen curfew - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Philadelphia imposes tough teen curfew

PHILADELPHIA (CNN) - Authorities in Philadelphia said a new curfew for anyone under the age of 18 is working, but parents and some law enforcement have misgivings about banning minors from being in public after 9 p.m.

The curfew to keep young people out of trouble and off the streets at night began this weekend.

Philadelphia police rounded up anyone under 18 out on the street, targeting two downtown areas popular with locals and tourists. Needless to say, those detained were less than thrilled.

"I just think it's utterly ridiculous," said one of the teens, 16, who was out with friends ages 18 to 22.

The crackdown is meant to send a message that flash mob violence won't be tolerated. And parents whose children get into trouble or break curfew could face fines.

"It's a wakeup call. Sometimes people need to hear what they don't want to hear," Philadelphia Police Officer Charles Ramsey said.

Parents had to pick up the teens police caught.

"My daughter called me up to say she's in the back of a paddy wagon," a father, Tino, said.

He's the parent of a 17-year-old honor roll student and had to retrieve her from authorities before she could be released.

"She was upset. I thought it was funny, but you know after a while I got a little nervous," he said.

Privately some officers questioned what the show of force will accomplish.

"All we're going is putting a temporary band-aid on a problem that isn't going to run away," said Maria Kefalas, sociology professor at St. Joseph's University.

She believes Philadelphia's highly-publicized response to its teen troubles is putting the blame on teens for wider social problems and is disproportionately focusing on tourist areas.

"There's lots of black on black violence in the city of Philadelphia every single day and what has changed now is black on white violence," Kefalas said.

The mayor, police and community organizers insist things will change.

"We will reach out to their parents who have challenges with their young people and we'll work with them," Anthony Murphy with Town Hall Watch said.

Which they hope will tackle a more serious problem than the late-night hassle faced by parents.

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