Mayor Beverly O'Neill


1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.

The City Council adopted an ordinance (9.58.020), which makes it unlawful for any minor under the age of 18 years, who is subject to compulsory education or to compulsory continuing education, alone or in concert with others, to loiter, idle, wander, stroll or play in or upon the public streets, highways, roads, alleys, parks, playgrounds, other public grounds, public places, public buildings, places of amusement and eating places, vacant lots or any place open to the public during the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on days when school is in session. Certain constitutionally protected activities are excluded.

The ordinance was adopted to do three things: keep kids in school, provide increased funding to schools due to increased attendance, and prevent juveniles from becoming victims of crimes or victimizing others.

Throughout the City, patrol officers identify violators, issue citations, and/or return them to the schools or a truancy counseling center. The officers have the discretion not to issue a citation if a more appropriate disposition is identified. In addition, J-Car detectives routinely conduct a minimum of two daytime loitering (truancy) sweeps each week. Approximately 200 citations are issued monthly.

The juvenile violator and his/her parents are required to appear in court. By prior agreement between the court referee and the Police Department, emphasis is placed on school attendance, rather than fines. Often, the juvenile and his/her parents are given the option of paying a fine of up to $250 and performing up to 20 hours of community service or returning to court after 60 to 90 days with proof of perfect school attendance. They usually elect the latter. In addition, the court referee will routinely direct the parents to attend parenting classes. If the juvenile and his/her parents do not complete the process as agreed, the juvenile can lose certain privileges.

2. When was the program created and why?

The program has been in effect since March 1996, and was designed to reduce truancy rates and daytime juvenile crime.

3. How do you measure the programís effectiveness?

The programís effectiveness is measured by the increase in school attendance and the decrease in daytime crimes in the areas surrounding schools. Since the programís inception, both goals have been obtained. School attendance rates are the highest they have been in the last 10 years, and crime is down significantly.

4. How is the program financed?

This program is financed by the Police Departmentís general fund budget.

5. How is the community involved in the program? How has the community responded to the program?

Although the community is not directly involved in this program, it appears to have a wide base of community support from parents, school administrators, and business people.

6. Contact person:

Lieutenant Gary Richens

Youth Services Division

1957 Pacific Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90806

(562) 570-1458

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The United States Conference of Mayors

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