Fulton County Board approves new curfew for teens after 'increase in youth violence'

Fulton County has approved a new curfew for minors as a response to an increase in violence and deaths involving young people.

In a meeting Wednesday night, the Fulton County Board of Commission passed a resolution amending the curfew hours for unaccompanied minors age 16 years old or younger.

In the new rules, the curfew hours will start 3 hours earlier from Sunday to Thursday - moving from 11 p.m. to 8 p.m. and extending until 6 a.m. the next day.

The Friday and Saturday curfew will remain from a minute after midnight to 6 a.m. the next day.  

The ordinance also makes it unlawful to loiter in public spaces, restaurants, and more businesses after the curfew starts and makes it unlawful for business owners and employees to allow minors to be on the premise during the curfew.

Officials say the changes are in response to concerns about the increase in criminal activity engage in by children under the age of 18 "after the hours in which juveniles should be at home."

"As one parent expressed at a public hearing, 'a juvenile curfew ordinance is 19 an attempt by Fulton County to save at least one child's life.' Accordingly, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners finds and declares that the purpose of this section is to reduce the number of crimes committed by and against juveniles after hours, and to safeguard the welfare of our children in areas in unincorporated Fulton County," the Fulton County Board of Commissions wrote in their ordinance.

In a statement to FOX 5, Atlanta Councilwoman Keisha Waites praised the board's decision and said that the city "must immediately implement the youth curfew."

"At this point, we cannot continue to kick the can on this. We are in a crisis," she said.

Waites is proposing a curfew in the city from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weekdays and 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weekends. The city would include exceptions that exist under the current curfew for "positive activities" like school or religious activities that take place after 8 p.m.