Conyers Police issued 14 citations to the parents of youths who were out past City of Conyers curfew Saturday night.
The maximum fine for such an offense is $1,000 accompanied with six months in jail. Typically, a judge has doled out fines between $150 and $300 and no jail time, says Kim Lucas, public information officer for the Conyers Police Department.
Underage kids staying out past curfew is usually a problem when school isn’t in session, but incidents like this can occur on the weekends during the school year as well, says Lucas.
Around 11 p.m. Saturday night, Conyers police received a call about a fight in progress near the Applebee’s, 1436 Dogwood Drive, Conyers, parking lot. Approximately 30 juveniles, from the City of Conyers, Rockdale County and city of Covington, were gathered in the area.
Officer Cecily Karrantza arrived on the scene first prompting the youths to scatter in the direction toward Wal-Mart, 1436 Dogwood Drive, Conyers. It took “nearly the entire squad” that was on duty at the time to round-up the children, says Lucas.
While being questioned in the parking lot in front of the Wal-Mart Garden Center, majority of the juveniles stated their parents dropped them off to see a movie at Crossroads Cinemas, 1536 Dogwood Drive, Conyers, hours prior to the incident. According to a press release from the Conyers Police, it isn't uncommon for parents to bring their children to the theater in the evening and leave them unattended for hours on end, but at 9 p.m., any person who does not possess a movie ticket must leave the theater which pushes them out into the shopping center parking lot.
“If you drop your child off for a movie at 7:00 (p.m.) and you don’t come to get them until 12:00 (a.m.), what do you think they’re going to do,” said Lucas. “We just want the parents to be responsible.”
Officers worked until after 2 a.m. Sunday morning issuing citations to the parents of the children out past curfew.
Additional citations for Curfew Violation, Disorderly Conduct, and Obstruction were issued to one unruly 15-year-old female juvenile who refused to leave the area with her guardian. She was placed in the custody of the Rockdale Youth Detention Center.
Businesses have complained that the large groups of juveniles gathered in their parking lots have deterred customers from entering their businesses. There were reports of fights and objects stolen out of vehicles in the Conyers Crossroads shopping center during the summer of 2013 which prompted the City of Conyers to put up an orange and white sign stating the curfew is strictly enforced.
“(The signs) did reduce amount the kids in the area and the crime,” said Lucas. “We just need to remind (parents) again.”
According to the city ordinance, which was passed into law April 2011, between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, any 16-year-old child or younger is not allowed to wander public areas unchaperoned by an adult with exceptions including sporting events, church events, going to see a movie and emergencies. On Fridays and Saturdays, the effective hours are between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. of the following day.
“We want to really remind people there is a city ordinance in place and you, as the adult, will have to show up to municipal court to answer for your child,” Lucas said.