Ocala, Florida — In May, Ocala Post told you about the curfew being enforced by the Ocala Police Department. However, some parents seem to have ignored the issue.
According to OPD, many parents are allowing their children to roam the streets at night. While the problem is mostly with teens; children as young as 9-years-old have been seen out past 11 p.m., without adult supervision.
A drive through Marion Oaks or Silver Springs Shores after 11 p.m. revealed children by the dozens roaming the streets, many carrying backpacks and wearing all black clothing in the darkness of the night.
The state of Florida does have a curfew law, but unlike the City of Ocala, Marion County has not adopted the law. Authorities say even though Marion County has not adopted the law, parents should use common sense. For the safety of the children; keep them from walking the streets after dark.
According to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, “Unsupervised juveniles are the most likely to commit crime, in general, so it seems almost obvious that crime might peak, especially during summer months, when students are off from school with idle hands.”
According to FDLE, during the summer months – when school is out of session – crime tends to rise.
The Ocala Police Department wants to remind the community that the City of Ocala has adopted the law for minors and that the law holds the parents responsible for making sure their child/children don’t violate this law.
Minors prohibited in public places and establishments during certain hours; penalty; procedure:
- (1)(a) A minor may not be or remain in a public place or establishment between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. of the following day, Sunday through Thursday, except in the case of a legal holiday.
- (b) A minor may not be or remain in a public place or establishment between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.
- (2) A minor who has been suspended or expelled from school may not be or remain in a public place, in an establishment, or within 1,000 feet of a school during the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. during any school day.
- (3) A minor who violates this section shall receive a written warning for her or his first violation. A minor who violates this section after having received a prior written warning is guilty of a civil infraction and shall pay a fine of $50 for each violation.
- (4) If a minor violates a curfew and is taken into custody, the minor shall be transported immediately to a police station or to a facility operated by a religious, charitable, or civic organization that conducts a curfew program in cooperation with a local law enforcement agency. After recording pertinent information about the minor, the law enforcement agency shall attempt to contact the parent of the minor and, if successful, shall request that the parent take custody of the minor and shall release the minor to the parent. (Depending on the reason the minor was taken into custody)
In April, Business owners complained and reported that they fear they will lose business if kids continue to hang out and cause trouble.
Businesses owners and residents alike have expressed their concerns and say they feel this matter is a parenting issue. Parents in Marion County are being asked to step up and take more responsibility for their children.
In the city limits, the curfew will be enforced and fines will be issued if parents do not take appropriate measures.
The Ocala Police Department said, “We appreciate the cooperation from all parents and minors.”