The San Marcos city council is expected to consider today whether to reinstate a youth curfew that no one seemed to notice expired nearly two years ago.
Last enacted in May 2004, the curfew prohibits anyone younger than 17 years old from being in public after 11 p.m. on school nights and between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on school days. A midnight curfew was in effect on Friday and Saturday nights.
Youth curfews in Texas automatically sunset unless reapproved every three years.
“We were not aware of the ordinance having expired until recently,” Police Chief Howard E. Williams wrote in a March 12 memo. “We have ordered our officers not to write any more citations for violation of curfew and we notified the city attorney’s office.”
The ordinance was originally intended to prevent juveniles from congregating downtown to frequent arcades that stayed open late, none of which are still in operation, Williams wrote. That problem no longer exists but implementation of 2 a.m. bar hours could cause new difficulties, he said.
In 2007, officers wrote citations for 28 daytime curfew violations and 57 nighttime violations, according to police department records. In 2008, those numbers were eight daytime and 60 nighttime curfew citations. Officers detained juveniles 221 times in 2007 and 186 times in 2008.
“The number of citations written does not seem to have a significant effect on the number of juvenile detentions for other violations,” Williams wrote.
Curfews are posted as a discussion item for council members to give direction to city staff on whether to prepare an ordinance for reapproval, including a process that by law must include public hearings.
— BRAD ROLLINS