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August 27, 2014

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Las Vegas City Council puts off decision on downtown curfew

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Courtesy photo

Las Vegas Metro Police cars line East Fremont street during First Friday, Sept. 6, 2013.

Action on a proposed curfew to keep teens off downtown Las Vegas streets on weekend nights was postponed for two weeks today while the city refines the boundaries of the area the new law would affect.

The issue: The City Council is considering an ordinance to extend the hours of its curfew for people under 18 in downtown Las Vegas.

The vote: No vote was taken. The item will be heard again at a committee meeting Oct. 1 and potentially brought back for approval by the City Council on Oct. 2.

What it means: City staff was still trying to iron out details of the curfew meant to keep unaccompanied minors out of heavily trafficked, booze-filled areas of downtown.

Growing crowds along Fremont Street, especially in the East Fremont Entertainment District, have raised concerns from police and local businesses. The influx of people, especially during the popular First Friday art crawl, has led to problems with security, crowd control and underage drinking.

The initial curfew proposal restricted those under 18 from being in the area bound by Sahara and Eastern avenues, Interstate 15 and U.S. 95. from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and legal holidays.

The wording of the curfew law and how it would be enforced drew concerns Tuesday at a recommending committee meeting.

Proponents of the bill, including police and downtown stakeholders, argued the curfew is a common sense measure to control crowds and keep out people who shouldn’t be in the area unaccompanied.

Opponents raised questions about the broad area the curfew targets and whether it would lead to profiling or indiscriminate stopping of teenagers who aren’t doing anything illegal.

The city already has pared down the affected area once, but two of the three council members on the committee voted Tuesday to hold the item so the bill can be refined. The area the curfew affects will likely be reduced again, and staff will look at ways to possibly reduce fines associated with the infraction, which stands at $300 for underage children and a potential $1,000 for parents.

The ordinance was brought up briefly at the council meeting for procedural reasons, but little discussion took place before a new hearing was scheduled for Oct. 1.

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