Borough of Abbottstown, PA
Adams County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Abbottstown 10-15-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-04.]
This chapter shall be known and cited as the "Abbottstown Borough Curfew Ordinance."
The Borough Council finds that it is in the public interest in accordance with prevailing community standards to establish regulations for the conduct of minors on streets at night for the protection of younger children in the Borough of Abbottstown from each other and from other persons on the streets during night time hours, for the enforcement of parental control and responsibility for their children, for the protection of the public from nocturnal criminal mischief by minors and for the reduction of incidents of juvenile criminal activity, all for the good of minors, for the furtherance of family responsibility and for the public good, safety and welfare.
The Borough Council finds that the curfew will meet a very real local need and will be a significant factor in minimizing juvenile delinquency in light of Abbottstown Borough's local situation and facts.
The community sense of the proper time for cessation of outdoor activities by minors on the streets is reflected in the curfew hours declared by this chapter which takes into consideration also the danger hours for nocturnal crime and for accumulations of minors with potential risks incident to immaturity.
Adequate indoor living space in Abbottstown Borough permits minors to healthfully occupy their time.
Commercial recreational facilities are almost nonexistent, and there is little or nothing for minors to do outdoors but roam the streets after the curfew hours which this chapter declares.
Abbottstown Borough is a stable family community. Parental responsibility for the whereabouts of children is the norm, legal sanctions to enforce such responsibility have had a demonstrated effectiveness over the years, as parental control increases, the likelihood of juvenile delinquency decreases, and there is a continuing need for a nocturnal curfew for minors which will achieve under local conditions the purposes hereinbefore stated.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words, and their derivations shall have the meaning given herein. When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future, words in the plural number include the singular and words in the singular number include the plural. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
Abbottstown Borough, Adams County, Pennsylvania, with administrative offices at 4 West Water Street, Abbottstown, PA 17301.
Any police officer hired by the Borough of Abbottstown or hired by another entity contracted by Abbottstown Borough to provide police protection within the Borough.
Any person under the age of 18 years.
Any person having legal custody of a minor (i) as a natural or adoptive parent, (ii) as a legal guardian, (iii) as a person who stands in loco parentis, or (iv) as a person to whom legal custody has been given by order of court.
Any street, public or private park, public or private playground, public or private parking lot (including access routes thereto), public building, or vacant lot in the Borough of Abbottstown.
To stay behind, to tarry and to stay unnecessarily upon the streets, including the congregating of groups (or of interacting minors) totaling four or more persons in which any minor involved would not be using the streets for ordinary or serious purposes such as mere passage or going home.
A way or place, of whatsoever nature, open to the use of the public as a matter of right for purposes of vehicular travel or in the case of a sidewalk thereof for pedestrian travel. The term street includes the legal right-of-way, including but not limited to the cartway or traffic lands, the curb, the sidewalks whether paved or unpaved, and any grass plots or other grounds found within the legal right-of-way of a street. The term street is applied irrespective of what it may be called or formally named, whether alley, avenue, court, road or otherwise.
As referred to herein, is based on the prevailing standard of time, whether Eastern Standard Time or Eastern Daylight Savings time, generally observed by the public in the Borough, prima facie the time then observed in the Borough administrative offices and police station.
Continues from one birthday, such as the seventeenth to (but not including the day of) the next, such as the eighteenth birthday, making it clear that 17 or less years of age is herein treated as equivalent to the phrase "under 18 years of age."
It shall be unlawful for any person 17 or less years of age (under 18) to be or remain in or upon the streets or public property of the Borough or in any vehicle which is on or in close proximity to any such public property or street at night during the period:
Sunday through Thursday, beginning 11:00 p.m. and ending 6:00 a.m. the following morning.
Friday and Saturday, beginning 12:00 midnight and ending 6:00 a.m. the following morning.
In the following exceptional circumstances, a minor on a Borough street or on public property in the Borough during the hours of curfew as established in § 100-4 above shall not be considered in violation of this chapter:
When accompanied by a parent of such minor.
When accompanied by an adult authorized by a parent of such minor to take said parent's place in accompanying such minor for a designated period of time and purpose within a specified area.
When possessing a written statement dated that day and signed by the minor's parent, which statement specifies the time, place, purpose and necessity of the minor being on a street or on public property in violation of this chapter.
When exercising First Amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution, such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and the right of assembly. Such minor shall evidence the bona fides of such exercise by first delivering to the Borough Council a written communication, signed by the minor and countersigned by the minor's parent with their home address and telephone number, specifying when, where and in what manner said minor will be on the streets or public property at night in the exercise of a First Amendment right specified in such communication.
In case of reasonable necessity but only after such minor's parent has communicated to Borough personnel the facts establishing such reasonable necessity relating to specified streets or public property at a designated time for a described purpose, including points of origin and destination.
When the minor is on the sidewalk of the place where such minor resides, or on the sidewalk of either next-door neighbor not communicating an objection to the police officer.
When returning home by a direct route from (and within 30 minutes of the termination of) a school activity, or an activity of a religious or other voluntary association, of which prior notice, indicating the place and probable time of termination, has been given in writing to and duly filed for immediate reference by the Police Department.
When on an emergency errand.
When lawfully employed, making it necessary to be on the Borough streets or public property in violation of this chapter and possessing a current letter certifying the employment and signed by the minor's employer or parent.
When the minor is, with parental consent, in a motor vehicle. This contemplates normal travel. This clearly exempts bona fide interstate movement through Abbottstown Borough, particularly on normal routes such as Route 30 East and West. This also exempts interstate travel beginning or ending in Abbottstown Borough.
Each of the foregoing exceptions are severable, as hereinafter provided but here reemphasized.
It shall be unlawful for a parent knowingly to permit or by inefficient control, to allow such minor to be or remain upon any Borough street or public property in violation of this chapter. The term "knowingly" includes knowledge which a parent should reasonably be expected to have concerning the whereabouts of a minor in that parent's legal custody. It is intended to continue to keep neglectful or careless parents up to a reasonable community standard of parental responsibility through an objective test. It shall be no defense that a parent was completely indifferent to the activities or conduct or whereabouts of such minor.
Any minor found upon the street or public property within the Borough in violation of this chapter, shall be taken into custody by the Borough police and delivered to his or her parent. A report shall be filed, where the minor's and the minor's parents' identity, age and address are recorded and this information shall be kept in a log for that specific purpose. If the parent cannot be located, then the minor shall be released to the juvenile authorities. The Borough police shall, by certified mail, send to the minor's parent written notice of said violation with a warning that any subsequent violations will result in full enforcement of this chapter, including enforcement of parental responsibility and of applicable penalties. It is not the intent of this provision to require the officers to transport the child at all if other duties or calls prevent the officer from doing so at the officer's discretion.
Any minor found upon the street or public property within the Borough in violation of this chapter, subsequent to his or her first offense, shall be taken into police custody and to the police station, where a parent shall immediately be notified to come for such minor. When a parent immediately called has come to take charge of the minor and the appropriate information has been recorded, the minor shall be released to the custody of such parent. If the parent cannot be located, or fails to take charge of the minor, then the minor shall be released to the juvenile authorities.
Borough police officers in taking a minor into custody shall use their best judgment in determining age and in doubtful cases may require positive proof of age. Until such proof is furnished, the officer's best judgment shall prevail.
If, after warning notice pursuant to § 100-7A of a first violation by a minor, a parent or minor violates this chapter, said minor or parent shall upon conviction thereof in an action brought before a Magisterial District Judge in the manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000 plus costs and in default of payment and said fine and costs to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 90 days.
Any minor who shall violate the provisions of this chapter more than two times shall be reported by the Borough to a society or organization whose purpose is to take charge of incorrigibles and delinquents and proceedings shall then be taken, under the Juvenile Act,[1] before the Juvenile Court for the treatment, supervision and rehabilitation of such minor.
Editor's Note: See 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 6301.
A like procedure, before the juvenile authorities, shall be followed in any case where the imposing of a fine or fines upon a parent shall not be effective, or where for any other reason the provisions of this chapter cannot be made effective by the imposing of penalties under the provisions of this section.
Any ordinance in existence at the time of the adoption of this chapter that conflicts herewith is hereby repealed.
The provisions of this chapter are intended to be severable, such that if any provision hereof shall be deemed to be unconstitutional or otherwise unenforceable, such determination shall not affect the other provisions hereof.