MUSKEGON, Mich. — There’s a saying that goes, “Nothing good ever happens after midnight.”
The Muskegon County prosecutor and city police believe that to be true. That is why they are currently using a program that has been in place for a few years now. It’s called a curfew sweep, which is part of their ‘Safe Days Quiet Nights’ initiative.
In the city of Muskegon, kids under the age of 17 are not allowed to be out past midnight without an adult. Throughout the state of Michigan, that age is 16 or younger. FOX 17 rode along with police as they looked for kids out past curfew.
“We`re not out to make them products of the criminal justice system,” said Muskegon County Prosecutor DJ Hilson. “We want them to understand that we don’t want them going down the path that leads to bigger and badder things.”
According to Hilson, the sweep has previously picked up teens who were about to break into building or do drugs. Some have even been armed with weapons.
When officers pick up a young teen or child, they’re brought to the police station and their parent or guardian is called. Hilson volunteers his own time to meet with the violators and their parents to discuss what’s called a curfew contract. In it, the violator must agree not to break curfew again and to meet with a mediator to discuss ways in which they can spend their time productively.
During Wednesday night’s sweep, police picked up just one 16-year-old. They say it is unusual to have such a quiet night on a curfew sweep, but Hilson believes it is also a testament to the success of the program.
In fact, Hilson says they see a 96 percent success rate, which means kids and young teens do not get in any trouble with police up to a year after being picked up for a curfew violation.
So far this summer, there have been five curfew sweeps. Police have picked up 21 violators, some as young as eight years old.