MOBERLY, Mo. - The Moberly Police Department said Thursday it's cracking down on curfew violations.
Two nights ago, officers arrested six juveniles after curfew hours. Police said the arrests are part of a larger effort to keep the community safe, including its younger crowd.
Several parents and teens told ABC 17 they were not aware of the curfew, which comes as a surprise to Moberly Police Chief Russell Tarr. He said the curfew has been in order since at least 1965. Increasing awareness of that is why officers stepped up enforcement.
"Younger people may be getting into trouble because they're doing nothing, or again, maybe there's other people who are a little bit older that may be enticing people to do things that they really wish they wouldn't have been involved with," Chief Tarr said.
He admits they often pick kids up near areas where crimes have been committed before. Sometimes, they're even found wandering the streets alone.
"It may surprise people the amount of times their children have (sneaked) out of their home, or were supposed to be with a friend or something of that nature," Chief Tarr said.
That's nothing new to 12-year-old Sam Copas, who told ABC 17 his friends do it often.
"It's actually pretty good for kids that sometimes sneak out, and I don't know, get into drugs and stuff like that," Copas said.
Chief Tarr said keeping that from happening is the goal of these proactive efforts.
"I think it's preventing some other crimes that may be committed; I hope, and I hope that people recognize that we're trying to do the best that we can within our community and keep it safe," he said.
The curfew says anyone under 18 cannot be out after 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday or after 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday without guardian supervision. Chief Tarr said you can be stopped in your car if you are underage. However, if a teen has a legitimate reason to be out, there are exceptions.
Chief Tarr said the enforcement does not cost the city any extra money.
ABC 17 looked at other cities to see if they had any curfew laws in place. Jefferson City does have one for people under 17, which states they cannot be out past 12:30 a.m. on any given night.
As for Columbia, the city does not have a curfew. However, this time last summer, Chief Burton of the Columbia Police Department suggested the city enforce a curfew after a string of shootings involving some teens. That proposal was never passed.