Orange County curfew sweep nets 29 juveniles


More than 180 law enforcement officers from 19 different agencies spent the night picking up kids under 17 who were on the street past curfew instead of being at home. Curfews in Orange County begin at 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., depending on the city, and last until 5 a.m. the following day. Minors are not allowed to be in public during these hours unless they are with a parent or guardian.

Law enforcement officials focused on areas that tend to see criminal activity at night.

Officers say such sweeps are important to prevent curfew violators from turning into criminals later in life.

"This is the beginning of a life of crime or at least bad decisions for young people and it's also a point and time when parents need to be aware that their kids are vulnerable, and they need to work together with us and obviously with their kids to correct this problem before it gets worse," said Assistant Sheriff Mark Billings with the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

The juveniles were taken to law enforcement headquarters and held until their parents picked them up. Penalties for breaking curfew could include six months in jail for the parent, juvenile hall for the child and various fines.

The sweep was done with on-duty personnel, so there was no overtime expense. The sweep is in its fifth year and is organized by the Orange County Gang Reduction and Intervention Partnership, a group that aims to prevent juveniles from joining gangs.

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