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Daily News Editorial

By Staff | Aug 5, 2009

Is it time for Estherville to develop and enforce a curfew ordinance?

Information shared with the members of the Estherville City Council Monday was enlightening and confusing.

We find it interesting that four municipalities in the surrounding counties-Algona, Emmetsburg, Spencer and Spirit Lake-have curfew ordinances in place.

Each one spins to a different beat. For instance, the curfew times vary, some charge fines while others contact parents or give written warnings. In Algona the second offense is a simple misdemeanor while in Emmetsburg the second curfew offense is considered a municipal infraction.

In Spencer there are fines for both first and second offenses in the amount of $100 each time.

Perhaps some incorporated areas adopt curfews to rein in minors who are not being law-abiding citizens after dark. It’s possible that their parents are choosing to shirk duties and are not establishing or enforcing house rules with regard to family curfew limitations.

In some cities, it is the parents who are fined when their children miss curfew.

We must realize embracing a curfew will not cure all of society’s ills. Not every case of vandalism, theft or any other kind of crime can be pinned on the population that is under 18 years of age.

Is there a fair and easy way to resolve this issue? Let the Estherville Daily News know what you are thinking. Submit your thoughts in a signed letter to the editor.

Our online poll question, “Should Estherville have a curfew?” received 219 votes (as of Monday, Aug 3, 2009) of which 167 were in favor of a curfew. Considering there are over 4,000 registered voters in this county seat, that may not be a clear indicator of what the council and/or police should do. Fifty-two chose no as their answer.

Society, has however, some expectations. One of which is that parents must parent their offspring.

At this juncture, no one knows the outcome of this issue. But here’s a thought:

n Maybe, just maybe, parents should ring up their children’s cell phones a little more frequently to know exactly where they are and what they are up to after dark.