ANDERSON — With schools out for summer, more children are out in their yards and on the streets, and the responsibility for their all-day care falls back to their parents.
And, in some unfortunate situations, law enforcement officers.
Officials from police departments around Madison County confirm that when summer comes around, the increased presence of kids becomes a safety issue, whether they’re biking out in the street or out too late at night.
According to Indiana code, any child younger than 15 needs to be out of public spaces after 11 p.m., with a few exceptions like family functions. Fifteen- to 17-year-olds are subject to the same curfew except on Saturday and Sunday, when they can be out until 1 a.m.
Law enforcement officers agree that breaking curfew is the cause for most safety issues involving kids.
“I’ve always thought nothing good happens after midnight,” said Elwood Police Chief Sam Hanna.
Hanna said the most important aspect to keeping kids safe during the summer months is keeping parents involved. When parents are aware of where their children are, who they’re with and what they’re doing, fewer problems arise.
Officer Chad Boynton of the Anderson Police Department agreed. He said he respects the laws, but even the current curfew laws are fairly lax, and parents need to share responsibility.
“It’s on both the parents and the kids. It’s a shared responsibility. Obviously it shifts a little more as the kids get older, but parents always need to be involved.”
Boynton said he sees an increase in simple disturbances involving kids during the summer. Sometimes, if parents aren’t involved, police can force responsibility on them, inconveniencing them by forcing them to come get their children after an incident.
“Sometimes it’s the best way to get their attention,” Boynton said.