The town of Bruderheim has joined a list of Alberta communities where young teens aren’t allowed out at night.
The 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew applies to teens 15 years old and under and came into effect July 6. The community, north of Edmonton, previously only enforced a curfew on Halloween.
“It really came about with input from the RCMP,” Mayor Karl Hauch said. “We’re just always focused on making our community safer; safer for the kids, the minors and safer for the residents of Bruderheim.
“Really, they should be at home with their parents. So if the RCMP are in town and they notice that children are wandering the streets and they’re not with their parents, they can stop them and find out what’s going on and maybe get them to their home.”
The new curfew doesn’t apply to teens if they are on the sidewalk outside their own home, or if they are working or volunteering.
Teens are also exempt if they are on the way home from an organized school, religious, sporting or cultural event in which they would have been supervised by an adult.
The Bruderheim bylaw holds both teens and their parents accountable. While youths caught out after curfew won’t be penalized — except by being sent home — parents who don’t ensure their kids follow the rules can be fined $100 for first offence and $200 for each subsequent incident.
Hauch said the town sees some vandalism and crime, like any community, but admits the violations from kids have been minor. He maintained the town’s focus isn’t on enforcement and fining residents, it’s about keeping the community safe.
“It’s just something that helps make residents feel safer and ensures the safety of the children.”
Theresa Jones owns a local liquor store and has had her business broken into three times. While she doesn’t think kids are to blame for the break-ins, she thinks the curfew is a good idea “just to keep them off the streets.”
“You know, 15 years old, they don’t need to be out and about at 11 to 12 at night. To me, they should be in the house.”
Several other communities have had curfews for years, all with similar exceptions and penalties.
In 2015, the southern Alberta town of Taber made national headlines by introducing an extensive bad behaviour bylaw, which included an 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew for teens under 16 years old.
The community of Millet, south of Edmonton in Leduc County, introduced a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew in 2014.
In central Alberta, the Town of Blackfalds passed a bylaw in 2012 that banned kids under the age of 15 from being out in public between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Strathcona County’s curfew came into effect in 2006, but is more lenient by only being enforced between 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.
Just southwest of Edmonton, the Town of Devon has had a curfew since 1999. Kids 15 years old and under aren’t allowed out on the streets between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.