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Photo: Village of Massena
Photo: Village of Massena

Village of Massena may bring back youth curfew

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The village of Massena is considering reviving a 40-year-old curfew. In the past couple decades, juvenile curfews have been challenged by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and often failed constitutional tests in the courts. But the Massena police are confident that this one passes the test.

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Natasha Haverty
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Massena has had a curfew ordinance since 1969. But the village hasn’t enforced it since 1993 when some of its provisions were challenged. Over the years, the police have worked with legal experts to make the curfew more constitutionally sound. At the Massena Village Board meeting last Tuesday, Police Chief Timothy Currier made his case for enforcing the curfew once again: “We went back and did a review of the juvenile incidents that we’ve had, particularly at nighttime, over the last five years”, he said, “and we’re finding that we’re averaging about 200 criminal contacts during the nighttime hours, a year”

Those are sometimes for car theft, or burglary, but most are offenses like vandalism in parks, or setting off fire works, or loitering. The curfew would be enforced on children up to the age of 16, and keep them at home from 10 at night until five in the morning.

On a first violation, a child might simply be brought to the station and sent home with a certified letter to the parents. But penalties can be as severe as monetary fines on the parents, and community service or two weeks in prison for the youths.

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