Some Pittsburgh City Council members are questioning the $500,000 investment made in an official curfew center. By an 8-1 vote, council okayed the funding last year. Councilman Doug Shields was the lone "no" vote on the original funding bill and he is now joined by Councilwoman Theresa Smith who says she would vote against a renewal of funding
Regina McDonald, Assistant Chief of Pittsburgh Police, says the curfew center in Oakland has 24 beds; 12 are allotted for boys and 12 for girls. However, since the site opened in September, she says only 12 youths have used the site. And those who have used it did not use the site as housing.
“Our expectation is that when a youth is brought into the curfew center, the turnaround period would be a matter of an hour or two,” McDonald says.
Without the center, Pittsburgh Police are unable to enforce the city’s curfew ordinance. Curfew is midnight on summer weekends and 11 p.m. on weekdays. During the school year, curfew is 11 p.m. on weekends and 10 p.m. on weekdays.
McDonald says numbers are likely to go up during the summer months, when more kids are outside late at night. She also cites the brutal winter as one of the reasons for the low number of youths picked up after curfew hours.
A public hearing is expected this summer before council considers renewing the funding.