Monday, July 13, 2009
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl says he hopes to have the new city curfew center up and running in the next few weeks. Last week the Pittsburgh City Council approved a contract with Three Rivers Youth to run a curfew center where youths, out after-hours, can be taken and held. Three Rivers plans to offer counseling, treatment and other social services to not only the children but also their parents. The contract comes after several months of delays. Ravenstahl had hoped to have the center open by May 1st but the council held off a vote in favor of a public hearing and open debate. Some council members felt the center would not be used and others believed it was not worth the half-million-dollar contract. A citywide curfew law has not been enforced since 2004 when the downtown curfew center was closed. The curfew ordinance requires youths younger than 17 to be indoors from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. on summer weeknights, and starting at 10 p.m. on school-year weeknights. Friday and Saturday nights year-round, they must be in by midnight. There are some exceptions, like going to or from a job. Ravenstahl says the center will be evaluated at the end of the first year of the contract. He says they will look at things such as the number of individuals who get treatment or social service help as well as the number of youth taken to the center. However he says the raw numbers will tell only half the story. He says this now gives officers the ability to approach youth out after curfew. He says that may result in a child going home rather than to the center and it may deter after curfew activities. Some officers have said that they will continue to ignore the curfew because it simply takes too long to transport and process the youth. The center hopes to reduce that time by having a new process in place aimed at getting the officers back o the streets as soon as possible.