Curfew sweeps recruit youths for diversion program

(Plain Press, August 2005) Seventeen children ages 12-17 were picked up in a curfew-sweep on Wednesday July 20th in the hours between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. in the Weed and Seed target area in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood.  The curfew sweep is one of twenty planned by the Weed and Seed Special Emphasis Curfew Diversion Program between now and November of 2005. The program recently received an infusion of $50,000 from the Department of Justice Community Capacity Development Office to develop a strategy to keep children off the streets and offer positive alternatives to a life of crime and drugs.

 “We didn’t pick up the kids because they were doing bad things. We picked them up because bad things happen to kids,” said Chad Self, a spokesperson for Mayor Jane L. Campbell.

When children are found in violation of the curfew  (Darkness to dawn for children 12 years or less, 11p.m. to 5 a.m. for children 13-16, and midnight to 5 a.m. for children age 17), they are taken to the Weed and Seed Teen Center at Bridgeway, 8301 Detroit Avenue. At Bridgeway volunteers call the youths’ parents or guardians. Once the parent or guardian arrives they are given the opportunity to either pay a fine (first offense $100, second offense 30 days or up to $250 fine) or agree to go through the Weed and Seed Special Emphasis Diversion Program.

The diversion program offers each youth 11 hours of educational training at the Weed and Seed Teen Center at Bridgeway and four hours of neighborhood community service in the Weed and Seed target area. In addition, the diversion program requires the parents of youths found in violation of curfew to sign up for Saturday morning community service in the Weed and Seed area. Parents are encouraged to bring their child when they participate in community service on a Saturday morning. Chad Self, spokesperson for Mayor Campbell, says thus far no parent has chosen to pay the fine. All have agreed to the diversion program.

Mayor Jane L. Campbell, Ward 17 Councilman Matt Zone, United State Attorney Greg White, volunteers from Cleveland Municipal Court and residents of the Weed and Seed area were on hand to help process youth picked up in the curfew sweep. Mayor Campbell says the diversion program “allows these kids to give back to the community, and, more importantly, brings the parent into the equation.”

The Weed and Seed target area stretches roughly from W. 65th to W. 85rd and from Lorain Avenue to Lake Avenue. For more information about the Weed and Seed program or the curfew sweeps call Brian Kazy at 407-5572.


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