Youth curfew the new norm for Flin Flon

It has been just over a year since Flin Flon’s curfew for youth under the age of 16 was put into effect.

The curfew became law on July 4, 2017. At the time the bylaw was passed, there was no opposition among council and Mayor Cal Huntley said he had not heard any negative feedback from the public about council’s plan to implement the curfew.

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A year later, Mayor Huntley said he has still heard no negative feedback from the public. In fact, he said, there has been little feedback at all and council hasn’t found it necessary to call for any statistics related to the curfew.

Huntley said he expects the curfew to remain in place as it is serving its purpose as an additional tool for the RCMP to be able to manage youth who are out past the curfew and get them home.

“They [RCMP] appreciate that tool,” he said.

The community continues to have issues with vandalism and other property damage, said Huntley, but Flin Flon is not unique in that. These incidents tend to occur in peaks and valleys, he said, and the community was seeing a peak a while ago, but it seems now to be moving into a valley. While youth under 16 aren’t necessarily responsible, Huntley said, it’s helpful for council to give the RCMP all the tools it can.

Cpl. Ray Hamilton of the Flin Flon RCMP said that mischief and vandalism incidents that go unsolved don’t contribute to statistics as to whether the curfew has had an impact in the area, as the age of the offenders is unknown.

Hamilton pointed out mischief makers often run off if the RCMP come around, and that is not the reaction the RCMP are seeing among youth approached about being out after midnight. Hamilton said the youth of the community have been generally respectful of the curfew and comply cooperatively.

The curfew bars youth under the age of 16 from public places after 10:30 pm Sunday to Thursday, and after 11:59 pm Friday and Saturday. The curfew extends to 5:59 am every morning. The curfew defines public places as “any highway, street, lane, thoroughfare, road or road allowance, bridge, pier, trail or any public place.”

When the curfew was first considered, Flin Flon’s mayor said there was a “perception out there that there’s some hazard in walking around Flin Flon at certain periods in the evening.”

Huntley said this perception is not necessarily accurate but added, “If enough people believe it, then you do something to try and [alleviate] that. There’s no reason for large groups of kids, younger kids, to be out wandering around at that time of night, and this just gives the RCMP the ability to disperse appropriately and send them home.”

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