[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Shamong 5-1-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-2. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Peace and good order — see Ch. 131.
The Township Committee of the Township of Shamong hereby finds there has been a significant breakdown in the supervision normally provided by certain parents and guidance for juveniles under 18 years of age resulting in juveniles being involved in a wide range of unacceptable behavior, including vandalism, littering and destruction of school property, mail boxes and lamp posts.
The Township Committee has received letters from the Shamong Township Board of Education's Business Administrator and Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds citing incidents of vandalism. These letters support the adoption of a curfew ordinance. The Township committee has also been told of vandalism to Christmas displays and that children are coming to Shamong because their Township has a curfew. The State Police Community Policing Officer has also asked the Township Committee to adopt a curfew ordinance so the State Police will have another tool in their efforts to reduce vandalism and loitering.
The Township Committee further finds that the offensive activities of the juveniles are not easily controlled by existing laws and ordinances because the activities are easily concealed whenever state troopers are present and that the establishment of reasonable curfew regulations will enable the community to better control the free and unobstructed access to the streets and public places by the majority of residents and will enable the state troopers to act reasonably and fairly to prevent the violation of laws and ordinances by juveniles.
The Township Committee further finds and has determined that a curfew would meet a very real local need and that similar curfew ordinances in other communities have been a significant factor in minimizing the problems outlined above which the Township Committee needs to address. A curfew in Shamong is particularly appropriate in view of the basic residential nature of the community and the sense of the community that there is a proper time for the cessation of outdoor activities of juveniles. That sense of the community is reflected in the curfew hours declared by this chapter which takes into consideration also the hours during which the above-referenced problems usually occur and when the juveniles seem to congregate and increase the potential risk for such incident due to their immaturity.
The Township Committee further finds that the community is not overcrowded and has approximately 2,000 single-family residential dwellings with few apartments. These dwellings are well designed and contain adequate indoor living space so as to permit juveniles to appropriately occupy their time. Commercial recreational activities are limited and during the curfew hours established by this chapter there is little or nothing for juveniles to do outdoors but roam the streets.
Shamong is basically a family community. Parental responsibility for the whereabouts of children is the accepted norm by a substantial majority of the community. Legal sanctions to enforce such responsibility have had demonstrated effectiveness in many communities over the years. The Township Committee has determined that as parental control increases there is a likelihood that juvenile delinquency decreases and that the establishment of a curfew applicable to juveniles will reinforce the primary authority and responsibility of parents and guardians over juveniles in their care and custody.
The Township Committee further finds that juvenile curfew ordinances are specifically authorized by N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.52 and that jurisdiction over violations of those ordinances is vested in the Municipal Court. The Township Committee further finds and determines that penalties on the juvenile and on the parent in the nature of fines and community service are appropriate and necessary.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- An individual who is under the age of 18 years.
- A person, other than a parent, to whom legal custody of the juvenile has been given by court order or who is acting in the place of the parent or is responsible for the care and welfare of the juvenile.
- PUBLIC PLACE
- Any place to which the public has access, including but not limited to a public street, road, thoroughfare, sidewalk, bridge, alley, plaza, park, recreation or shopping area, public transportation facility, vehicle used for public transportation, parking lot or any other public building, structure or area.
No child under the age of 18 years shall be or remain in or upon the public places within the Township of Shamong between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 6:00 a.m. prevailing time, either on foot or in or upon any type of conveyance, unless such child is accompanied by his or her parent or guardian.
A child under the age of 18 years shall not be considered in violation of this chapter under the following circumstances:
When the child is engaged in extracurricular school activities; or errands involving medical emergencies; and to attend other cultural, educational and social events sponsored by religious or community based organizations.
When the child is in front of property of the place where he or she resides, or in front of the property of either next door neighbor unless such neighbor communicates an objection to the police officer or to the neighbors.
When traveling to or from home by a direct route to or from a business or occupation which the laws of this state authorize a juvenile to perform.
When the child is, with parental consent, in a motor vehicle for the purpose of direct interstate or intrastate movements along routes through Shamong Township.
No parent or guardian of a child under the age of 18 years shall allow or permit an unaccompanied juvenile to be on any public street or in any public place in the Township of Shamong between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 6:00 a.m., except as specified in this chapter.
Any person violating or failing to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be required to perform community service and may in addition be subject to a fine not to exceed $1,000, or both.
If both a person under 18 years of age and his or her parent or guardian violate this chapter, they shall be required to perform community service together.