LILBURN -- It's midnight in Lilburn -- do you know where your children are?
The city of Lilburn has adopted a new curfew for local kids age 17 and under, one that means those found flying solo during late night and early morning hours -- as well as their parents -- are subject to citations, fines and, in the case of repeat offenders, detainment.
The ordinance, which Lilburn Mayor Johnny Crist made official Monday, is "an effort to keep the city drug free and our streets safe by reducing the number of crimes that are committed by and against minors ... and to safeguard the welfare of our citizens."
Police Chief Bruce Hedley said the action is primarily an effort to try and curb crimes like graffiti and criminal trespassing.
"We wanted to really be proactive and give the officers the tools necessary to have that intervention capability before the crime occurs," Hedley said.
Aside from a few exceptions, Lilburn police officers now have the ability to confront kids left unsupervised after 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on Friday and Saturday. Those found to be in violation of the ordinance will be taken home and their parents warned on the first offense.
If further offenses occur, negligent parents could be susceptible to fines up to $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail.
Owners, operators and employees of local businesses will also be held responsible if they don't report curfew-breaking teens to police.
Crist said there was a round of applause when the ordinance was passed Monday. He pointed to incidences of "juveniles hurting each other and hurting our community late at night."
"This is not motivated by Lilburn being an unsafe place," Crist said, "but rather that we want to keep it a safe place."
Hedley said the city has seen about 200 reported incidents of graffiti in the last five years, costing police, taxpayers and local businesses money. The new curfew, he said, will help police perform their jobs more effectively.
"I don't know if it's a solution to the problem," Hedley said, "but it's one step closer to minimizing the incidents that occur."
Exceptions to curfew include "emergency errands," and travel home from a school activity, job or "an activity involving the exercise of First Amendment rights of free speech, freedom of assembly, or free exercise of religion."
Hedley said Thursday that no enforcement incidents had occurred since the ordinance's inception.