78° San Marcos
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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

San Marcos ends decades old juvenile curfew

Harrison Moore

On Aug. 15, San Marcos City Council officially voted on the repeal of the city’s juvenile curfew ordinance.


The ordinance prohibited young people between the ages of 10 to 17 to be out in public areas from 9 a.m to 2:30 p.m. on weekdays, 11 p.m to 6 a.m Sunday through Thursday and midnight to 6 a.m on weekends, and could be fined $50 if not followed. 


The city adopted the curfew in 1994 with a renewal vote taking place every three years. 


The decision to repeal the ordinance came after the official signing into law of HB 1819, which bans the implementation of juvenile curfews in Texas cities, with exceptions to emergency situations. 


Brandon Winkenwerder, assistant chief of operations for San Marcos, said the curfew served as a tool to talk to the citizens and combat crime across the city. 


“Like everything, juvenile curfews are not the one solution, but it’s one tool that you can use to try to combat it,” Winkenwerder said. 


According to Winkenwerder, in the last five years, a decreasing trend of citations handed out was seen with 2018 having a total of 17 citations, and 2022 only having two citations. 


“The officers use it as a way to get a conversation going with folks,” Winkenwerder said. “Nine times out of ten, they are not looking to cite somebody, they’re just looking to inform them and get voluntary compliance.” 


In December, the city council voted 5-2 in favor of renewing the ordinance, but growing concern and disapproval of the curfew began emerging amongst some community members. Mano Amiga, a local nonprofit advocacy organization, worked to advocate for the repeal of the ordinance. 


“When we found out that it was up for renewal, we saw it as an opportunity to end the harmful policy that just criminalizes our youth here in San Marcos,” Sam Benavides, communications director for Mano Amiga, said. 


Benavides said the ordinance had a negative effect on the young people of the city.


“When we have a policy that is intended to criminalize minors, that is especially troubling because having that charge on your record can have so many negative implications in anyone’s life, and especially that of a young person,” Benavides said. 


Benavides also recalled her own personal experience with having a juvenile curfew in her hometown of Laredo, Texas, and being approached by police officers. 


“My friends and I would often stay up late and then walk up to McDonald’s, just innocent young kids hanging out,” Benavides said. “We’re just glad that the policy is over now [in San Marcos], but definitely want people to remember where our elected officials stood on this policy when it was in their hands.”

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