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Conflict ensues between politicians and police in the suburb of Port Coquitlam, as The Vancouver Sun reports on a city council decision to impose a curfew on all children under the age of 15.
“Each night at 11 o’clock the fire department will sound a siren to warn juveniles to get off the city streets,” reports the paper. “Council instructed its staff to finish drafting a bylaw that would carry a $5 maximum fine for parents or guardians who permit their children or wards to habitually contravene the bylaw.”
Mayor Jack Campbell is in wholehearted support of the bylaw, explaining that it will “draw to the attention of the proper authorities parents who are delinquent in their responsibility to their children.”
“He said the bylaw would show youngsters who now are left to roam at will that someone cares about them and wants them home,” reports the paper. “Ald Phil Ranger, in supporting the bylaw, said it was a safety measure for young teen-agers who have not as yet become hardcore delinquents and would teach them they must learn to respect the law.”
Local law enforcement, however, is less enthusiastic about the move, with the RCMP’s Marvin Young claiming that the bylaw would do little besides “result in the RCMP becoming a taxi service to return young people to their homes.”
“[Alderman George] Laking said there are enough laws at present and they need only to be enforced,” the paper continues. “The curfew would break down the good relations that exist between the police and most of the city’s juveniles, he said. He added that the word habitual is hard to interpret in the courts with regard to hardened criminals and would be equally as hard to interpret in curfew violations.”
“He said,” The Sun concludes, “that since the RCMP say they meet with little success in having charges laid against juveniles, the curfew would be just more unenforceable legislation.”
IMAGE: Policeman serving as a school crossing guard, circa 1960s. Image courtesy of the Vancouver Public Library.