Police warn parents: Curfew crackdown is coming

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Memorial Day weekend marks the start of summer curfew enforcement in the city's entertainment districts.

Large gatherings of young people have caused disruptions on the Country Club Plaza in years past.

Anyone under 18 can't be out on the Plaza, or the four other entertainment districts, after 9 p.m. beginning Friday without a parent or guardian.

This is the seventh year police have enforced a curfew for the Plaza, Westport, Downtown, 18th and Vine and Zona Rosa.

Large groups of unruly children have caused problems on the Plaza in previous years.

Even though many of the kids say they were simply hanging out, there have been instances of violence or even shots fired.

Police say the city is doing a better job of hosting events for teens and younger children.

"Nine times out of ten when we are engaging and speaking with the kids, they are just hanging out, which is great. There’s nothing wrong with hanging out," said Gina English, social services coordinator. "Let’s just make safe, smart decisions and also let's remember after 9 p.m. in the areas we are speaking of, what is there that would be positive or productive for youth to be involved in? Really those are adult spaces at 9 p.m."

Mayor's Nights, Club KC and Night Hoops programs are among the events extending hours this summer so that there are safer alternatives than just hanging out waiting for something bad to happen.

Parents can be fined up $500 for each curfew violation.

Police say they try to post a list of alternatives for teens on Facebook. Police also say arrests for curfew violations seem to be decreasing since the ordinance started in 2012.