Following a rowdy weekend in Deep Ellum, the Dallas Police Department will begin to apply a more stringent enforcement of the juvenile curfew ordinance.
In a July 24 press conference in front of the 7-Eleven in Deep Ellum, Deputy Chief Thomas Castro, who oversees the Central Division which covers Deep Ellum and downtown Dallas, said that the police department would execute stricter curfew enforcement in the next few weeks.
"Our No. 1 priority is to provide public safety," Castro said. "Deep Ellum is a small area, but it draws a large crowd. We're taking additional resources to maintain order and provide adequate safety for patrons, visitors, and business owners."
On July 20, Deep Ellum drew what Castro called an "unusually large crowd," and the police department got some complaints.
"Historically, Deep Ellum, being a major entertainment hub, sees more people during the summer months — that's been happening for years," he said. "This was a large group of juveniles walking in and out of the streets and sidewalk, and some people didn't feel safe because they couldn't get through."
"There's not anything for them to do down here, and it's against the law," he said. "We'd rather encourage them to stay home, in their own neighborhood, and not make that trek down to Deep Ellum. We don't want to have to take actions, but we will have to if we see them out."
Dallas re-enacted a juvenile curfew in February 2019 in which teens under 17 cannot be out after 10 pm on weeknights and midnight on weekends. The ordinance says that offenders first get two warnings, then a citation.
"Hopefully within those first two warnings, we try to get them home safely, but the third time we can take enforcement action," he said. "Our goal is not to put a financial burden on that family or individual, but to gain compliance. We'd also encourage parents to know where your kids are at. Whoever's in charge of that juvenile, there's no reason for them to be in this area during late hours. It's for their protection, as well. Sometimes, they get in a group, and it encourages them to do things they wouldn't otherwise do."
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officers will also be stepping up their efforts in tandem.
"We've partnered up with DART," Castro said. "If they encounter a juvenile or group near the curfew deadline, they're going to encourage them to go home and remind them we do have a curfew ordinance. If they decide to get onto the train, DART officers will contact supervisors directly so we can be better equipped to address that."