Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Institutes Teen Curfew in Attempt to Curb Gun Violence

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

After a shooting at Chicago’s famous Millennium Park killed a teenager over the weekend, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has announced she will institute a 10 p.m. weekend curfew for minors. The Chicago Tribune reports that the Windy City does already have an 11 p.m. curfew for minors, but Lightfoot has moved that up to 10 p.m. This comes after an announcement on Sunday that minors will be allowed in Millennium Park after 6 p.m. on weekends if they are accompanied by an adult.

“Anyone coming into our public spaces should be able to enjoy them safely,” she said Monday, calling the weekend shooting a tragedy and adding she spoke to the slain teen’s mother. “Young people are absolutely welcome downtown but in the evening hours they must be accompanied by a responsible adult.”

Many young people are looking for space “to hang out” and are tired of being indoors, Lightfoot said, and that’s understandable. But she lamented the large, chaotic scene over the weekend where a teenager was shot and large crowds of teenagers flooded downtown, stopping traffic and jumping on vehicles.

We need to make sure they are safe and importantly that our young people understand and respect basic community norms, respect for themselves, respect for each other, and we must ensure that everyone of our residents and visitors no matter who they are, where they come from… are able to enjoy our public spaces,” Lightfoot said.

The mayor directed some of her comments towards parents, lamenting the fact that preteen children are heading downtown late at night without their parents, and she asked parents to inform themselves of Chicago’s curfew laws.

The city’s curfew laws seem to be as about as effective as their gun laws. While Chicago remains one of the worst cities in America for gun violence, it has some of the most stringent gun laws in the nation. Lightfoot maintains that it is not her intention to round up youth and throw them in jail, but it’s not off the table if young Chicagoans fail to comply.

“Our hope is that example we’ve seen in other instances across the city will hold here in Millennium Park,” Lightfoot said. “My interest is not rounding up young people and throwing them in the back of the wagon. That’s not what this could or should be about.”

“We don’t want to arrest children,” she added. “If we have to because they’re breaking the law, we will.”

Out: Arresting protesters for burning down private businesses and entire neighborhoods in the name of social justice.

In: Arresting teenagers enjoying their city for being out too late, even if they are doing so peacefully.