Mayor Nutter announced yesterday that the city will have earlier curfews and increase police patrols in Center City and University City in an effort to crack down on roving groups of youths who recently have committed acts of violence.
"If you assault a fellow Philadelphian, a visitor or anyone else in this city, you are going to jail," Nutter said. "The full force of the Philadelphia justice system will come down on your shoulders, and unfortunately your life will be forever changed."
The move comes more than a week after a group of teens left a man with broken teeth and a wired jaw after they attacked him July 29 in Old City. Four other men were assaulted in Center City, and one was left unconscious. Four people were arrested in the attacks, including an 11-year-old boy.
Nutter said additional police presence and a stricter curfew would be implemented in Center City and University City until the beginning of the school year.
The increased police patrols will cost the city $56,000 a weekend, Nutter said, adding that the public can call 3-1-1 to find out how to participate in the Safe Corridors campaign to help patrol targeted areas with community leaders.
Curfews for targeted areas will be 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for anyone under 18. Anyone caught violating curfew will be taken home or to a police station, Nutter said. For the first offense, minors face a $100 to $300 fine.
As for the rest of the city, the curfew will remain the same - 10 p.m. for children under 13, and midnight for young people under 18.
After parents receive a first-violation notice, they will be fined up to $500 for successive violations. The Department of Human Services will be contacted to launch an investigation if parents fail to keep their children in check.
Parents also will be held responsible when their children violate curfew and commit acts of violence, District Attorney Seth Williams said. Parents will be liable to the victim and can be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor, facing up to 90 days in jail for repeat curfew-violation offenses.
"If parents don't want to be accountable and be responsible and know where their children are, we will make sure they know where they are because they will be on State Road or they'll be at the Youth Study Center," Williams said, referring to the location of Philadelphia prisons. "There will be no diversionary programs, no community service for people who commit random acts of violence."
Nutter urged parents who have problems dealing with their children to contact the city's Department of Human Services for help.
Meanwhile, hours at 20 of the city's recreational centers will be extended to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and pools will be open a week longer than last year.
Nutter became emotional when a Daily News reporter asked why he had brought up the issue of race during his 30-minute sermon Sunday at a jam-packed Mount Carmel Baptist Church, in West Philadelphia.
"You know, I do not care what your economic status is in life - you do not have a right to beat somebody's ass on the street! None!" Nutter said after a long pause. "It's a message that is universal. It's for everyone, but if I'm in a black church talking to black folks, more than likely I'm probably going to be talking about black kids.
"When they see that activity, that behavior is in fact damaging to all African-Americans and Philadelphians. That is why I said what I said."