Baltimore’s summer youth curfew begins, attempts to reduce teen violence
With the start of Memorial Day weekend, a youth curfew is expected to go into effect in the city of Baltimore.
Starting Friday evening, the mandatory curfew will go into effect in an effort to curb the recent spike in teenage gun violence in the city, Mayor Brandon Scott’s office said this week.
Enforced on weekends and holidays, the curfew is part of a strategy introduced by Scott to minimize interaction between children and police and to keep children out of harm’s way during the summer, when forces law enforcement officials said violent crime was trending up.
Experts say curfews for minors have historically proven ineffective and often have unintended consequences.
Curfews for teenagersJuvenile curfews have consequences, but not what they’re designed for, studies show
What are Baltimore’s curfew hours?
The curfew begins at 10 p.m. Friday and lasts until Sept. 3, 2023, the mayor’s office said.
Under the terms of reference, any young person under the age of 14 who is out after 10 p.m. and between the ages of 14 and 16 after 11 p.m. on weekends or holiday nights, without a parent or guardian will be “engaged by personnel not in charge of the ‘law enforcement where he will be first encouraged to return home or call their parent or guardian before being transported to an engagement center,’ the mayor’s office said.
Those who violate the curfew face fines of up to $500.
Measures put in place to reduce violations include:
- 1st offence: written notice and warning;
- 2nd offence: $50 fine or family consultation;
- 3rd offence: fine of up to $500 or community service for parent or guardian.
Who is excluded from the Baltimore curfew
The mandate excludes young people who participate in city-sponsored events. City officials said those children will be given city-issued wristbands to wear and given an hour to return home after the event they attended ends.
The strategy, the mayor’s office said, is the result of input from more than 300 young people who came together for a series of discussions at eight schools and recreation centers “about what they wanted to see from their city.”
“Our young people are the future of Baltimore and we need to focus our resources, time and energy on making sure they have the opportunities they deserve to grow and develop to their best,” Scott said during a press conference on Wednesday. “We are providing opportunities for them to enjoy their time off from school while participating in activities that we know they want to participate in and we will engage them through Baltimore’s curfew orders in a manner that limits unnecessary interactions with law enforcement to ensure a safe, fulfilling summer for everyone.”
Are the curfews working?
The National Council on Crime and Delinquency said a curfew “unnecessarily funnels large numbers of non-delinquent young people into a criminal justice system that is already inundated with suspected offenders,” according to the Office of Juvenile Justice. and Crime Prevention Department of the United States Department of Justice.
Curfews have also had a disproportionate impact on minors in minority communities, with black youth facing higher rates of curfews and vagrancy arrests than white teens, according to data collected by the office of crime prevention.
Contributor: Sarah Elbeshbishi
Natalie Neysa Alund covers the latest news and trends for USA TODAY. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.
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