DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — The Decatur Police Department implemented a curfew for kids 17 and under on June 14. Now, they have data backing up the rule.
Chief Shane Brandel said his department collected three months’ worth of data showing gun violence has lowered drastically with the curfew in place. The curfew dictates that anyone 17 or younger must be at home by 11 p.m. between Sunday and Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays, the curfew is pushed back to midnight.
Anyone caught out past curfew could be fined between $250 and $500.
Prior to June 14, 24% of people shot in Decatur were juveniles, with 38% of those happening after 10 p.m. In addition, 23 juveniles were arrested for gun-related crimes (including shootings). Since June 14, one juvenile was shot: a 15-year-old girl who was a bystander in an incident at 4 a.m. The one victim accounts for 11% (1 of 9) shooting victims since June 14. The number of curfew violation citations issued was 29.
Brandel said the number of citations issued has never been the goal or anything to measure potential success. The goal is to reduce the number of juveniles involved in gun violence, either as a victim or an offender.
“Our curfew enforcement is one element,” Brandel said. “Community engagement is an element of it and all of that coming together and using our partnerships in the community is what is helping us drive this number down.”
Devon Joyner, the Executive Director of Old King Community Orchard Center, is one of many Decatur leaders who worked with the police to ensure kids stayed inside and not on the streets. But he said it’s not just on them.
“Where are your kids?” Joyner asked. “They should be home in bed for the most part, but if not bed, they should be home safe from what goes on.”
Joyner said it’s up to everyone to keep the numbers down for progress to continue, and to ensure kids have adults there to guide them.
“We understand you’re going to continue to make mistakes,” Joyner said. “But, let’s not have them be life-altering, life-taking mistakes. Let them be mistakes where you try to stand up correct and direct, and we’ll continue to honor backing you up no matter what it takes.”
Brandel said the curfew was always on the books but not heavily enforced until this past June. He said they will continue to keep it going to ensure no one is on either side of a gun.