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Massena to implement under-16 curfew

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MASSENA — A village curfew will make it illegal for anyone below the age of 16 to be out between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Police Chief Timmy J. Currier said police will begin enforcing the new regulations May 1.

There was a similar curfew in place from 1969 until the mid-1990s, when village legal counsel recommended that police stop enforcing it due to First Amendment conflicts. Revisions have been made to the law to clear up any constitutional conflicts, including a provision allowing parents to let their child be out between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. for school, religious and community functions.

“It doesn’t take away a parent’s right to decide when their child may be out,” Mr. Currier said.

Parents must give the child a signed and dated note stating the reason why they are out after curfew.

Curfew violators will face 20 hours of community service, and repeat offenders could be petitioned into St. Lawrence County Family Court. Parents of offenders will face a $50 fine for the first offense, $100 for a second offense, $250 for a third offense and subsequent offenses could be punishable by up to 15 days in jail.

Mayor James F. Hidy said the curfew was a good rule he lived with growing up in Massena.

“It worked when I was a kid growing up, and I think it can for young people today,” Mr. Hidy said. “There’s no foreseeable reason for adolescents to be out after 10 o’clock. Several generations were raised with that curfew.”

Mr. Currier and Mr. Hidy see the curfew as “another tool” in local law enforcement’s arsenal toward combating crime and public nuisance. Mr. Currier said that increases in misdemeanor crimes committed by young people spurred the effort to reintroduce the curfew. These crimes were mostly related to criminal mischief, property damage, vandalism and violating the local noise ordinance.

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