San Luis Obispo Council votes for youth curfew

May 4, 2011

San Luis Obispo City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday to make it illegal for minors to be out late at night.

The curfew, sought by Police Chief Deborah Linden, makes it illegal for minors to be in public places without an adult from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays and from midnight to 5 a.m. on weekends.

Eleven exceptions include going on an errand at the direction of a parent, attendance at school or religious events and emergencies.

Minors found breaking the curfew face fines of $100 and/or 10 hours of community service for a first offense, a $200 fine and/or 20 hours community service for a second offense and a $250 fine and/or 25 hours of community service for a third offense. After that, Christine Dietrick, the city attorney, said minors can be prosecuted for a misdemeanor.




I’m mixed about this. While this curfew seems to be implemented with the best intentions in mind, it comes across as a bit oppressive. The basic presumption, behind this curfew, is that minors without an adult cannot be trusted to occupy public places from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. At the same time, I can see curfews as beneficial because it also protects minors from crimes that could happen at night.

In any event, I’m uncomfortable with the idea of having our government step in the shoes of the parents. I wouldn’t mind the government discouraging bad habits, but having such a curfew imposed should be a wake-up call to parents to be parents. For SLO City Council to go this far shows how negligent some parents are when it comes to protecting their child.


That is a thoughtful response, Razor. Many times, when the government wants more control or money, they often toss up the venerable “sacred cows” like children, elderly, teachers, firefighters and police.

If one sees past the various smoke screens of these sacred cows (public safety or child safety in this case), one sees a big nanny-state move. After all, why should the government ever tell anyone where they can go, and when? WE need to tell them where to go… and NOW! ;-)

In short, many liberty-robbing laws and regulations are created under the best of intentions, without any thoughts of “Big Brother” or the nanny state; however, that does not mean we’re not advanced down that road as a whole because of said laws and regulations.


We get more and more vanilla as time goes by. Soon they will be coming for our guns and our cars and placing restrictions on who we can date and marry. I suppose if we conform we will be OK but then who will define what is conformity. Tell them to duck when they come for the guns…….


Once again I don’t agree with any of you. I’m really surprised by everyones responses. Most cities have curfews, I assumed that SLO did.

I am glad that they are finely doing this, it’s way overdue. Many parents are responsible parents that know where their kids are and what they’re doing but unfortunately there those parents that let thier kids run amuck. There is nothing good about a kid being out past 11 PM on school days. They should be home sooner than that. It’s too bad that a few parents need help parenting but that’s the reality. What on earth would a 13 or 14 year old be doing hanging out on the streets that late. As my parents used to say, ‘there’s nothing to do that late except get into trouble’. They should be in bed resting up for school. I know that you right wingers hate the govt. but there are people that need the help of the govt. and if they don’t get it then we are only hurting ourselves in the long run.


Ah! I see. Because “they” do it, it is automatic that all should do it. Great. Thanks for the in-depth analysis.

I think you might just have control issues, but that is a total assumption on my part, and I know it makes me an ass. I can be honest about it, at least.


The problem is that the police already abuse the authority that we have entrusted them with. It’s a bad idea to open the door and allow them to stop anyone under 30 using the guise that the person might be underage. They can’t be trusted or maybe you forgot about Matt Hart and all the citizens that have been wronged, like the Pizza Parlor owner and the mobile MM providers to name a few. They already have too much authority to intrude into our lives.


It is not all LEO, and if you have nothing to hide why worry?

Kevin Rice

You know what SHOCKS me? That Liberals appear to be the most supportive of this infringement of civil liberty that is targeted at an under-represented minority group!

Explain to me how curfews are not an oppressive right-wing, police state, authoritarian government law? Explain to me how a “Liberal” could align with what seems to be an extreme right-wing action?

I’m very confused. I think I am more Liberal than many “Liberals”.


Okay, I get it. If you see a nine year old walking around at 3 AM the police wouldn’t have any right to pick him up and take him home or call his parents. After all as someone here already said, the police are too busy to do this anyway. If there aren’t any laws on the books regarding curfews then the police will be harassing the nine year old if a cop questions him so the cop had better not hassle him or he will be violating the nine year old rights and could get sued.

Kevin Rice

A nine year old is a different case. A nine year old might not even be safe at home without a baby sitter. The courts and child endangerment laws would look at this from a completely different viewpoint.


BTW SLO, you are completely wrong. It’s the extreme right that want to live in bunkers and have no laws and no rules and live for themselves without helping others. It’s the libs that want to have rules, regulations and help the less fortunate.

Kevin Rice

I don’t think I’m completely wrong. The libs should be standing up for the civil liberties of all people, including young people in this case. This is precisely where I think the Left assumes a Fascist, right-wing role. I’m beginning to believe Left and Liberal can be far apart, and that I can be far more Liberal than many Democrats.

Whatever that you believe is right or wrong about a minor being out past midnight, the right choice should be made on whether they, combined with their parents, have the right to live for themselves, free from government mandate. I don’t know how a Liberal can stand up for homosexual rights and turn their back upon young people.


Homosexual rights, turning our backs on young people,,,huh!? Apples/oranges. IMO it’s you guys that want to turn your backs on young people.

IMO the libs are more for social issues and keeping children safe is a social issue.

Regarding the nine year old, that is the point. A 14 year old shouldn’t be out on the streets all night either. IMO curfews are for child protection. There are parents that don’t have the sense to check their on thier kids or care about what they do. If they won’t do it then someone needs to. In some cases it’s not even the parents fault. I remember telling my parents that I was at my friends house when in reality I was doing things that I shouldn’t have. If one of my kids was doing some of the things that I used to do then I hope that the cops pick them up for curfew. It is a fact that the adolescent brain isn’t wired right, they are very prone to risky behavior, they can’t help it, its just they way their brains work. We must have laws to keep our children safe and that’s what curfews are.


Fortunately I live in the wild-west community of Los Osos, where minors can still transit the community without the hand of law enforcement waiting to snag them around the corner.

Which of the wonderful SLO Council voted FOR this? They either have a knee-jerk problem, or are woefully unfamiliar with existing laws and court decisions relative to police contacting persons (of any age) in public places. The existing laws allow cops to detain and identify ‘suspicious’ persons, and the same goes for intoxicated persons.

This is political BS. To make it appear as though these ‘leaders’ are doing something.

Oh, how many cops are on the street at night? If they are hunting juvies will this limit their ability to be proactive in patrolling neighborhoods and commercial areas for, say, burglars, vandals & thieves?


It would be interesting to know exactly what prompted this sort of rule. If there are a gang of young taggers out there… or young punks shaking down little old ladies at midnight… it would be nice to keep the citizens informed. If its just a few poorly raised kids hurting themselves… well… there are bigger fish to fry. Personally, this sounds a lot like the city is playing Mommy.

I am sure there are a lot of good, sound credible reasons… I just think we would all like to hear about it… and think about it before our ‘leaders’ drive us over a cliff. Our city — regardless of administrations — as always been less than forthcoming on just about everything.

BTW, boys and girls, sending a note out to all of us telling us how you are going to jump our rates dramatically over the next year is not exactly ‘consultation.’ You guys really need to work on your communication skills and hiring someone to run our city who makes more than the governor aint the way to do it.


Kevin Rice

Residents for Quality Neighborhoods. More commonly known as the “trash can police”.


so, you are saying the RQN folks initiated this? I am sure you realize that I am not one of them.


“Eleven exceptions include going on an errand at the direction of a parent, attendance at school or religious events and emergencies.”

And just how will they know that a person meets one of the eleven exceptions? How will they know a person is 18 and old enough to be out? They now have a carte blanche to stop and harrass anyone 25 and under for no reason other than to check them out. What a bunch of BS.

Big Brother has arrived.


I guess it is acceptable to profile age, just not ethnicity nor religion. Welcome to the State.


Be prepared to ‘hand over your papers’ if you’re under 30 and out late at night.


More government intrusion into your homes. Pay attention, people. Little by little you are giving up alot!


Oh, but it’s all in the name of Public Safety(tm)! You know it’s bad when you have to tell your friends from former communist countries that they cannot do certain the things (driving while on cellphone, wearing seatbelts, bike helmets, cutting a tree down, etc.) they have freedoms to do in their country.

It is amazing how few “freedoms” Americans actually have anymore. Of course, each and every erosion comes with plenty of programming and indoctrination, so most of us not only agree to give up freedom, but actually demand it be taken from us! All for the good of the public! Someone else always knows best.

(FYI: there is sarcasm in this post, for folks who are not brushed up on irony)


Geez you people over react. They’ve had curfews for minors since I was a kid a 100 years ago, it’s not that unusual or that big of a deal. It’s probably more unusual to not have curfews.


Yes, but curfews 100 years ago were established by the PARENTS of those kids… the point we’re “over reacting” (sic) to is that it is now up to the government to establish yet more rules for our kids.

Now you can argue that today’s parents are not even a shadow of parents 100 years ago, you’d get no argument from me…


No r0y, most cities have had curfews for many many many years.

Kevin Rice

Let’s have a curfew to keep women safe and off the streets at night… then tell me it’s not “that big of a deal”.


Women are old enough to have the mental maturity to make their own choices. What in the heck is a 10, 12, 16 etc. year old doing out that late anyway? Why not take away drinking age limitations,,this darn nanny state that we live shouldn’t regulate whether minors drink, lets get the govt. out of our lives. For that matter why have age requirements for driving, after all if a 10 year old is making good enough decisions to be out all night unsupervised I’m sure that they have the mental maturity to drive okay and we certainly don’t want the govt. to tell them that they can’t drive.


Typo- A 10 year old isn’t even old enough to be left at home alone. The police already have the authority to pick up and protect a 10 year old. Don’t be ridiculous.

Anyone who appears to be too young can be stopped at anytime when on the streets at anytime if the police believe that the minor is compromised. Those laws already exist.

You’re avoiding the question of how the police will identify a youth? Can you tell the difference between a 17 year old and an 18 year old? I know I can’t and to allow the police to stop anyone for any reason (because the might not be 18) and ask for ID is just BS. Then if the police don’t like the person’s attitude they use the probable cause law to check the persons pockets. A great deal of the Cal Poly students look under 18 and the majority at are least that age.


Having a ton of kids myself and working/volunteering in the schools for so many years and going through a certain amount of training on this I know that your statements regarding 10 year olds being left alone wasn’t at all accurate. The police absolutely don’t have the right to pick up a 10 year old that’s not being supervised by an adult. Drive by a grade school at 3 PM and you’ll see plenty of 10 year olds walking home without an adult and many of them go home to an empty house. Most experts recommend that leaving a child home alone depends on several things with the most important thing being maturity. Many experts say that kids can be left alone starting between the ages of 10 to 14 (depending on which expert you talk to). Some states have laws that require kids to have adult supervision from around 8 to 9. But for the sake of argument I’ll go with 14. I don’t believe that any 14 year old should be legally allowed to walk around at 3 AM. There are NO laws that dictate that a 14 year old should be picked up because letting them walk the streets at night is neglectful or whatever.

You are wrong about police having the authority to pick up an unsupervised kids at the age of 10. As a matter of fact Ca. has no laws regarding the age that a child needs to be supervised. So theoretically and in reality a young child can stay out as long as they want to.

BTW, I did the Google and found a pretty comprehensive study on curfews. 4 out of 5 cities have night time curfews. Again this is why I don’t get all the fuss, this is no big deal and has been going on for many years.