Flash mob crackdown: Teens, parents on notice

PHILADELPHIA - August 8, 2011

During an afternoon news conference, Nutter announced temporary changes to curfews in targeted enforcement zones in areas of Center City and University City.

For those under 18 years old, the curfew is now 9:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Nutter said officials will revisit that curfew as the school year approaches.

In all other areas of the city the current curfew remains the same, but will be "actively enforced."

Current curfew on the books in Philadelphia is 10:00 p.m. for those under 13; 10:30 p.m. for those 13 to 17 years old Sunday through Thursday and 12:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Anyone caught breaking curfew will have parents contacted and will receive a fine from $100 to $300 for first violation and will face time in custody.

Nutter also called out parents, saying "it is your responsibility to know where they are, what they are doing and who they are with. They are your children. You need to raise them. You are responsible for them."

To that end, Nutter said that parents who are called to pick up a child breaking curfew will be issued a warning on the first occasion. On subsequent violations, fines can increase to $500.

If you do not pick up your child, Nutter said the Department of Human Services and you could be taken to court for other violations, including neglect of your child.

This comes a day after Nutter delivered a fiery speech at the congregation at Mount Carmel Baptist in West Philadelphia Sunday speaking of the violent coordinated attacks that have broken out in Center City, the most recent the Friday before last. A gang of 20 to 40 kids, including one 11-year-old, attacked two people at random. Four people were arrested and charged.

"They didn't do ONE thing," Mayor Nutter told the congregation. "Then all of a sudden, for the cowards that some of them are, in the crowd, thought they were anonymous, jumped up and started beating on people - assaulting them in the streets of this city."

Starting last Friday afternoon and through the weekend, you could see a visible and heavy police presence in Center City - on foot, on bikes, even mounted patrol. The city's curfew law was strictly enforced. Children under 13 home by 10 - young people between 13 and 18 by midnight.

Community leaders could be distinguished by their IPledge t-shirts. The mayor walked with them Saturday night in a show of strength.

"So, if you want to be aggressive, we're going to be aggressive. And let me just share this with you. We've got the biggest, baddest gang in town - a committed group of citizens and a committed government and we're working together and we're not going to have this nonsense anymore," pledged the mayor.

The mayor says officials have seen many residents, business and community leaders step forward and offer their help with this effort, including registering their security cameras with the city in the police department's new Safe Cam initiative.

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