Chapter 9.04

Editor’s Note:    Former Chapter 9.04, Minors, was repealed by Section 1 of Ord. 97-09.


9.04.010    Purpose – City Council Findings.

9.04.020    Definitions.

9.04.030    Child Protection Curfew

9.04.040    Exemption

9.04.050    Enforcement Procedure.

9.04.060    Keeper of Public Places.

9.04.070    Violators to be Detained.

9.04.080    Parent/Guardian Must Call for Children.

9.04.090    Violation.


Persons under the age of sixteen years are particularly susceptible by their lack of maturity and experience to become victims of older perpetrators of crimes, or to participate in unlawful activities during late night hours. Law enforcement officials in other cities and the unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County have made a large number of late night/early morning contacts with children under the age of sixteen years and in a large percentage of these cases, the parents are unaware that their children were in public places after 11:00 p.m. The unsupervised presence of minors standing, sitting, idling, wandering, strolling or laying on the public streets, sidewalks, lanes, alleys, parks, playgrounds or places between late evening hours and daylight of the following day is contrary to the public peace, health and safety, has contributed to the delinquency and/or victimization of minors, has contributed to a worsening of illegal drug-related problems, and has contributed to an increase in juvenile crime. With certain exceptions, requiring minors to stay away from public streets, sidewalks, lanes, alleys, parks, playgrounds, and places between late evening hours and daylight of the following day would significantly reduce the problems of juvenile delinquency, juvenile victimization, drug-related problems and crime. The City Council therefore desires to establish a curfew ordinance in order to reduce crime and general problems of juvenile delinquency but at the same time comport with the requirements of law and respect the First Amendment rights of minors to free speech, association and travel. Such a narrowly tailored curfew ordinance will serve to promote health, safety and welfare of all persons who live and work in the City of Santa Cruz, especially the city’s young people. Specifically such an ordinance will advance the City objectives of reducing the likelihood that children will be the victims of criminal acts during curfew hours, of reducing the likelihood that children will become involved in criminal acts or be exposed to narcotics trafficking during curfew hours, and of aiding parents and guardians in carrying out their responsibility to exercise reasonable supervision of children entrusted to their care.

(Ord. 97-09 § 2 (part), 1997).


As used in this Chapter:

“Child” shall mean any person who is under the age of sixteen years.

“Curfew hours” shall mean the hours between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. for children under the age of sixteen years.

“Emergency” shall mean an unforeseen circumstance that calls for immediate action to prevent serious bodily injury or loss of life. The term “emergency” includes, but is not limited to, a fire, a natural disaster, an automobile accident, or any situation requiring immediate action to prevent serious bodily injury or loss of life.

“Establishment” shall mean any privately owned place of business to which the public is invited, including but not limited to any place of amusement, entertainment, or recreation.

“Guardian” shall mean: A person who, under court order, is the guardian of the person of a child; a public or private agency with whom a child has been place by a court; a person who is at least eighteen years of age and authorized by a parent or guardian to have the care and custody of a child.

“Parent” shall mean a person who is a natural parent, adoptive parent, or step-parent of a child.

“Public place” shall mean any outdoor area to which the public or substantial group of the public has access, including, but not limited to, streets, highways, sidewalks, alleys, parks, playgrounds, or other public grounds; or any outdoor common area of an establishment, including, but not limited to, entry ways and parking lots.

“Remain” shall mean to linger at, stay in or fail to leave a public place when directed to do so by a police officer or the person in control of the public place.

“Tarry” shall mean remaining, wandering, strolling or playing without apparent purpose and while not under the control or supervision of a parent, guardian, or adult designated by a parent or guardian.

(Ord. 97-09 § 2 (part), 1997).


It shall be unlawful for a child to tarry or remain in any public place between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.

(Ord. 97-09 § 2 (part), 1997).

9.04.040 EXEMPTION.

A child shall not be in violation of the child protection curfew if, at any time the child is contacted by a police officer or person in control of a public place, the child is:

(a)    Accompanied by the child’s parent or guardian;

(b)    On an errand at the direction of the child’s parent or guardian, without detour or stop;

(c)    In a motor vehicle involved in interstate travel;

(d)    Engaged in a lawful employment activity, or is en route to or returning from a lawful employment activity, without detour or stop;

(e)    Acting in response to an emergency;

(f)    On the sidewalk abutting a child’s residence or abutting the residence which is immediately adjacent to the child’s residence;

(g)    Returning directly home, without detour or stop, from a school or educational event, a religious event, a cultural event, a sporting event, a movie, any other entertainment or recreational activity or from any organized rally, demonstration, meeting or other congregation of persons protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution;

(h)    Waiting at a bus stop or bus station for transportation;

(i)    Emancipated in accordance with the California Family Code or other applicable state law.

(Ord. 97-09 § 2 (part), 1997).


(a)    Before taking any enforcement for violation of the child protection curfew, a police officer shall ask the contacted person’s age and reason for being in the public place. In connection with these inquiries the police officer may ask the contacted person for any proof of identification that would serve to establish or tend to establish the contacted person’s age including, but not limited to, a driver’s license, any other state-issued identification card, or a school student body card. The police officer shall take enforcement action unless the police officer has probable cause to believe that the contacted person is a child but that the child’s presence in the public place during curfew hours is permissible under section 9.04.040.

(Ord. 97-09 § 2 (part), 1997).


(a)    Each owner, agent, manager or keeper of a hotel, motel, boarding house, lodging house, tenement house, motor court, or apartment house shall report to the police department the presence therein of any child within three hours of registration unless such child is accompanied by a parent or guardian. Any report required by this section shall state the name, age, last known place of abode and the names and residences of the parents or guardians, or other custodians of the child, so far as such information can be ascertained.

(b)    Guest and resident registries shall be available for immediate review and inspection upon request by any member of the Santa Cruz police department. Should the owner, manager or other person having management or control not agree to voluntarily produce the guest or resident registry upon receipt of such a request, he or she shall do so upon presentation of a duly executed search warrant authorizing the police department’s review, inspection, reproduction and/or impoundment of the guest and resident registry. An owner, manager or other person in management or control shall not be in violation of this chapter for failure to voluntarily produce the registry but shall be in violation for failure to do so immediately upon presentation of a duly executed search warrant requiring the production.

(Ord. 2014-02 § 1, 2014: Ord. 97-09 § 2 (part), 1997).


Any child found to be in violation of this chapter may be immediately apprehended and shall be dealt with in accordance with the applicable laws of the state of California governing juveniles.

(Ord. 97-09 § 2 (part), 1997).


It is unlawful for any parent, guardian or person having a child in his or her charge, after receiving notice of the apprehension and detention of said child, to fail or neglect to go in person or send some suitable person after said child, if requested to do so by the detaining authority.

(Ord. 97-09 § 2 (part), 1997).

9.04.090 VIOLATION.

(a)    Violation of any provision of this chapter shall constitute an infraction.

(b)    The city attorney shall have the discretion to prosecute a second violation of either Section 9.04.060 or 9.04.080 committed within six months of a prior violation of these sections as a misdemeanor.

(Ord. 97-11 § 1, 1997: Ord. 97-09 § 2 (part), 1997).