INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – A new curfew for unaccompanied children went into effect Friday in Independence, including the Independence Center shopping mall and the surrounding business districts on either side of Interstate 70.
The curfew, which prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from being unaccompanied in the 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. zone, is a joint effort by the city, the Independence Police and the companies to address potential problems in the region.
The Independence City Council on Monday approved a curfew ordinance.
Independence Police Chief Brad Halsey said his service responded to incidents at various shops, restaurants, entertainment venues, parking lots and shopping areas where minors caused unrest.
“This has diverted police attention from other areas of the community that require an additional presence to protect customers and businesses in that area,” Halsey said in a statement.
Police say they have seen a slight increase in such incidents this year and hope the curfew will help reduce them during the holiday shopping season.
The curfew affects the area between US 40 to the south, 39th Street East to the north, Little Blue Parkway to the east, and Missouri 291 to the west.
It also includes all public and private businesses directly accessible by Bass Pro Drive, located west of Missouri 291.
Curfew places include public streets, public lands, public buildings, places of entertainment, restaurants, vacant places, and retail stores.
Andrew Phelps, general manager of Get Air Trampoline Park, said he understands the need for the curfew.
“I know they’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the right things to do, and I trust our local government to do what they think is best,” he said.
Phelps said his company will now notify parents and minors upon arrival that they must be accompanied by an adult after 9 p.m.
Brandon Treece, a parent, said he was okay with the curfew.
“If you’re under 18 and you’re going out after 9pm, I don’t know if you’re going to be doing anything productive,” he said.
Independence said the curfew will be enforced and parents of unaccompanied minors will receive citations.
The ordinance defines minors as any person under the age of 18, but exceptions are made for minors who return home in public after a school activity, a recreational event, a dance, a concert or a job or who have received an emergency race led by his parent or guardian.
Signs explaining the curfew will be put up throughout the district and there will be an increased police presence in the area.
Phelps said he’s happy to make additional changes to his business if it means the community is safer.
“It’s just one more thing, but it’s nothing we can’t handle,” Phelps said.