Council: Curfew to stay 10 p.m.

CITY HALL — The City Council agreed Tuesday to maintain Burbank’s 10 p.m. curfew in the wake of a challenge to lengthen it by one hour from Councilman Dave Golonski.

The curfew currently prohibits minors from “loitering, idling, wandering, strolling or playing” in certain public places between 10 p.m. and sunrise, according to the City Charter.

The purpose of the ordinance is “to protect our kids from potential victimization and

enhances the safety of our residences during the late hours,” Burbank Police Capt. Janice Lowers said.

Golonski, after speaking with students at the Burbank Police Youth Academy, broached the City Council this summer about extending the curfew to 11 p.m.

“On Friday and Saturday nights, they said the 10 p.m. curfew was too stringent,” Golonski said. “To me, it doesn’t seem like 10 is a reasonable time. Maybe during the school year it is, but during the summertime, it seems like it should be more flexible.”

However, Golonski noted that the students may not have been aware of the exceptions to the curfew rule. Though the exceptions are not specifically noted in the ordinance, some include returning home from a late movie, concert or other entertainment-related outing and running an errand for a parent or guardian, Lowers said.

The exceptions aren’t in the city code because they are too numerous, Lowers said.

Noting the omissions from the ordinance, Councilwoman Anja Reinke said that such exceptions should be codified in the ordinance.

Most citations since 2005 have not targeted minors at popular entertainment centers, such as the Village, but those caught loitering around closed businesses, alleyways or parks, Lowers said.

“It’s not kids hanging out in front of the AMC [that we target]. Hanging out with your friends after a movie is lawful activity,” Lowers said. “It’s only when there is no rhyme or reason for them being out there that we target them.”

Lowers also noted that police are not targeting every minor out late.

“Our officers will not generally target kids who are just chatting,” she said. “They generally target kids who they believe are engaged in something that is unlawful.”

Curfew offenses have trickled down each year since 2005, when 215 minors were cited for offenses. In 2006, 158 minors were ticketed while, as of Aug. 1, 51 minors have been cited, Lowers said.

Lowers attributed the decline to an increase in entertainment centers.

“There is more to do in town,” Lowers said. “If kids have something to do, they will go do it.”

The Burbank Police Department surveyed similar curfew laws in other cities, such as Beverly Hills and Inglewood, whose curfews begin at 11 p.m. However, most cities surveyed, such as Pasadena and Monrovia, have curfews that also begin at 10 p.m.

The City Council agreed to keep the curfew at 10 p.m., noting that the declining number of citations shows a flexible police force not intent on citing every teen they see at nightfall.

“I’m satisfied with the way the law stands now,” Councilman David Gordon said. “I don’t think with 51 citations issued, [moving the curfew to 11 p.m.] is going to make a major change in police activity.”

Though Mayor Marsha Ramos considered pushing back the curfew an hour, she was satisfied with Lowers’ explanation.

“It’s a tool that is used very carefully and appropriately,” she said. “We can see by the numbers that it is not overused.”