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Tacoma asks teens to spread curfew rules through videos

Tacoma is cracking down on minors who stay out past midnight, and city leaders are counting on teens to get the word out.

They just kicked off a contest that asks kids to make mini-movies about the city's curfew law. While they want minors to know the curfew is no joke, they say they’d love to see funny videos about it.

Shelly Koeppen, with the city's Human Rights and Human Services department, says it could even be a comedy:

“They could put together a video that maybe over-exaggerates the different ways youth are out when they shouldn’t be. We’re trying to just encourage creativity in presenting the information so that it might be entertaining as well as educational.”

She says most kids under 18-years-old are well aware they can’t roam the city between midnight and 6:00 a.m., unless they’re on their way to something like work, school or religious activities. 

Minors who break the rules face fines starting at $125. Parents can also be slapped with $250 fines for allowing kids to hang out in public places after midnight.

Tacoma put its curfew in place in January 1995to help cut down on crime. Cities such as Kent and Everett have done the same. 

Still, Koeppen says a lot of minors don’t know, or conveniently forget, during the summer months.

“This seems like the perfect opportunity to give youth something to do when they’re home from school, they’re on summer break, and they need an activity to keep them occupied.”

Since boredom alone probably isn’t enough to get kids to enter the video contest, the city is also giving away $650. The top prize of $500 and second place award of $150 will be decided by the public.

The last day to enter is Aug. 31st. Voting runs from Sept. 6th - Sept. 15th. 

Contestants must: 

Charla joined us in January, 2010 and is excited to be back in Seattle after several years in Washington, DC, where she was a director and producer for NPR. Charla has reported from three continents and several outlets including Marketplace, San Francisco Chronicle and NPR. She has a master of journalism from University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor's degree in architecture from University of Washington.