As of midnight Friday, all youth under the age of 18 years old are to be off the streets in La Ronge between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
The curfew is in response to several recent crimes involving youth in the area.
Last weekend there was a series of break-ins. The interior of the homes was damaged and things were stolen including guns, ammunition, electronics, bicycles, and even a car. Three teenage boys ranging in age from 13 to 16 were charged.
Town council was called upon to respond by a number of concerned residents. Mayor Thomas Sierzycki said the bylaw may still be a bit subjective.
“Of course, if a 17-year-old is walking home from work and it’s 11:15 p.m. and they don’t have a ride and they have to get home, that’ll be the discretion of the RCMP. If a 13-year-old or 14-year-old is simply loitering and stealing ammunition or guns, those are concerns we have,” said Sierzycki.
The town’s curfew was originally implemented in 2005 in response to some issues in the community at the time. The law even applied to Sierzycki, who would have been 17 years old at the time.
He said as the issues went away, enforcement relaxed.
“This isn’t a police state mentality, it’s simply to ensure the safety of all residents including the young people who may be subjected to situations where they shouldn’t be or may not want to be,” said Sierzycki.
In addition to the curfew, the town is also establishing a special task force to examine what may be causing the youth to act out, and help find a long-term solution.
The task force will be made up of members of town council, the RCMP, Chamber of Commerce, and concerned citizens.
“Nobody wakes up in the morning thinking they are going to be a criminal today, unfortunately we as a society need to work better and harder on the grass roots issues of why people may feel marginalized,” said Sierzycki.
One of the challenges that goes along with enforcing a curfew is having enough human resources.
“There is never enough men and women on the streets, we as a community, like all others, obviously want more police, and police are doing an amazing job with the resources they have,” he said.
Sierzycki pointed out the bylaws allows people to report young people who may be out loitering in areas where they should not be.
“(The curfew) is no different than it was before, the only difference now is that the RCMP now have a means to engage parents or guardians, and so a means to ensure that young people are not in places where they should not be.”
Sierzycki said the community will have an opportunity to provide input. There will be a public meeting early in the new year.