With Winfield plagued by vandalism and thefts, the Town Council was right to approve a curfew for children last week.
This curfew, the first in the town's history, will be enforced by the Lake County Sheriff's Department.
The ordinance makes a distinction between age groups, with different rules for teens 15 through 17 and for children under 15.
Curfew hours for children under 15 are 10 p.m. through 5:30 a.m. every day of the week.
Curfew hours for teens ages 15 through 17 are 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m., except those teens who are allowed to stay out as late as midnight on Friday and Saturday nights.
"This is the first step in initiating our Crime Watch program," Town Council member Don Samburg said.
Fines for each violation are $25 to $2,500. The child and the parent, guardian or custodian charged with a violation will appear in Lake Juvenile Court, under the terms of the ordinance.
There are sensible exceptions to the curfew, of course, when evidence of good parenting is involved. It doesn't apply when:
• Accompanied by the child's parents, guardian or custodian or an adult chaperone designated by one of those adults.
• Participating in or going to or from lawful employment, a school-sanctioned event a religious event, an emergency, an exercise of First Amendment rights, or an activity conducted by a suitable nonprofit or governmental entity under adult supervision.
• Interstate or international travel.
Winfield's crime spree prompted this new curfew. Children out and about late at night are often up to no good. Requiring them to be under adult care is for their own good as well as for the protection of others in Winfield.
This law doesn't forbid adults from being in public, only children, and for good reason. Children shouldn't be running around at night without adult supervision.
Winfield is right to approve this curfew, with the sensible exceptions that indicate good parenting is going on.