We surveyed Baltimore residents to see reaction to the new curfew law. You can join in on the survey and discussion here.
As of August 8, Baltimore youth are required to observe a curfew or face being brought to a curfew center, or even pay steep fines. The law has been described as one of the toughest in the nation, and debate rages: is it really an effective way to protect our youth?
WKZO reports that the police gave out 120 citations in the first month, while 23 curfew violaters were taken to youth centers and 97 were simply escorted home by police. The average age for those given citations was 13 – the oldest was age 16 (the maximum age enforced by the curfew) and the youngest was age 3, out with another, older youth.
Mayer Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says that the curfew and the associated Youth Connections Centers can be effective tools in getting vulnerable youth and their families connected with resources.
The curfew requires all children under 14 to be home by 9 p.m., and those under 16 to be home by 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 on weekends.
When we surveyed Baltimore residents about the ages affected by the curfew, less than half knew it was for those age 16 and under.
Critics claim the curfew is too strict, and even violates families rights.
Supporters claim that youth are kept off the street and positive programs will keep youth occupied.
Our survey found that citizens were torn on their opinions on the effectiveness of the curfew. 49% believe it is an effective way to protect our youth, while 48% felt it was not effective (3% declined to respond). The numbers were slightly different when asked about crime. 51% felt that a curfew helps to reduce crime, while 47% believed it would not help.
You can see the results of the survey here.