Crummy Curfew

“On Wednesday, a new curfew takes effect, with curfew time moving from 10:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weeknights, and from 11:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends,” NBC5’s Kim Vatis reports.

Curfews are an old political chestnut, but most examinations show they don’t work. “Afterschool programs have more crime reduction potential than juvenile curfews,” this Juvenile Justice Bulletin report shows.

Of course, it’s always good for the mayor to get on TV all outraged and red-faced. But the literature is pretty consistent.

“Curfews have been widely cited by policy makers as an effective tool for reducing youth crime,” another study noted. “This study analyzes arrest, reported crime, and mortality data from jurisdictions throughout California for the 1980-97 period. There is no support for the hypothesis that jurisdictions with curfews experience lower crime levels, accelerated youth crime reduction, or lower rates of juvenile violent death than jurisdictions without curfews.”

Back in 1999, Reason magazine, in “Do You Know Where Your Children Are?“, argued persuasively that “Youth curfews are bad ideas whose time has come.”

And they’ve yet to leave.

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