Baltimore Sun

Baltimore’s New Curfew Takes Effect Friday

Unsupervised children must be indoors as early as 9 p.m.
by Yvonne Wenger and Colin Campbell
August 7, 2014

Baltimore’s new curfew — among the strictest in the country — takes effect Friday amid mixed reaction, with some parents saying it could help keep youths safe and experts noting that there’s no evidence that it will.

… Researchers say there is no evidence to suggest that curfews reduce crime or keep children safe. For instance, a study of crime statistics from 1980 to 1996 in California cities with youth curfews found no correlation between curfews and crime by or against juveniles.

Jeffrey A. Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the argument that a curfew is necessary to protect children is “convenient” but not rooted in fact. Governments have child welfare laws for safety, he said, and officers can intervene when necessary without needing a curfew law to step in.

Butts said Baltimore’s law is not only strict, but confusing because of the way it changes based on a child’s age and the time of year.

“It’s more coverage than I have seen most cities do,” Butts said. “It sounds not only comprehensive but complicated, which means kids will lose track of it.”

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