New Smyrna Beach leaders consider permanent youth curfew

Juvenile arrests up by 89% in last 2 years, police say

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – City leaders met Tuesday to consider a permanent youth curfew in New Smyrna Beach.

The proposed ordinance comes after police said there was a dramatic spike in juvenile crimes during late-night hours.

According to the New Smyrna Beach Police Department, juvenile arrests increased by 89% in the last two years. Data shows from 2021 to 2022 alone, there was a 56% increase in citations given to juveniles and a nearly 90% increase in juvenile arrests, with most of those being for aggravated assault and burglary.

George Kotsonis, whose family owns the Beacon Restaurant on Flagler Avenue, said he’s noticed an uptick in problems, especially during spring break.

“Flipping tables out here. Busting windows, pulling lights down, stuff like that. It needs to be stopped,” Kotsonis said.

The consideration of a permanent curfew comes after city leaders passed a temporary 60-day ordinance around spring break last year.

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“When they started actually regulating on this road and stuff it made a big difference, because they went from vandalizing everything and not respecting the property owners to listening to the cops,” Kotsonis said.

According to the proposed curfew, anyone under 18 would not be allowed out from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday unless they were accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Restricted hours on Friday and Saturday would be from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Minors found violating the curfew could face a warning for a first offense, $50 fine for second offense, and $100 fine for additional violations.

Parents and businesses could also face fines for knowingly allowing a minor to break the curfew.

Nancy Grimes lives in New Smyrna Beach and said she supported the idea of a permanent curfew.

“I just think the community should step up to the plate and put a curfew on them,” Grimes said. “If the parents are allowing misconduct, they should be fined as well.”

After a reading and discussion Tuesday, the ordinance is moving forward to a final vote on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

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About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.