Thursday, August 13, 2009
SAN DIEGO Curfew sweeps in San Diego's inner city neighborhoods have netted more and more unsupervised minors over the past couple months.
San Diego police officer Jon Cooksey, who heads up the mid-city division, says his officers picked up more than 130 young people in two separate curfew sweeps just last month. He calls that a “staggering” amount compared to the months before.
Officers believe the increase is linked to school being out for the summer. A city law states minors are not allowed outside of their homes after ten in the evening, unless there's adult supervision.
Cooksey says officers have picked up minors as young as 11 years old.
“When you see them in the command post, you just go, ‘How old is that guy? He can't be that old.' So you get a shock when you see them come through at that age.”
Cooksey's mid-city division is made-up of neighborhoods like City Heights, Oak Park and Rolando. This is the first year police have been conducting routine curfew sweeps in the area. Officials say that's because there has been more homicides and violence involving young people over the past year.
Cooksey hopes more parents will become aware of the city's curfew laws. He believes the increase in curfew violations is due to more and more parents simply not knowing about the law, not caring about the policy, or assuming their kids are somewhere else.
“Sometimes it's deception. The kids are saying, 'Mom, can I spend the night at so-and-so's house?,' and the other kid says, 'Mom, can I spend the night at so-and-so's house,' and before you know it, they're out cruising around.”
And cruising around, Cooksey says, often leads to trouble. He says petty theft, burglaries, and robberies are big problems facing his mid-city division.