Baltimore Teen Curfew Draws Concern

June 4, 2014 by staff 

Baltimore Teen Curfew Draws Concern, Baltimore will impose one of the strictest curfews in the country this summer in a bid to curb rising violence, drawing criticism from residents, public-safety experts and civil-rights advocates.

Under the bill – approved by the city council and expected to get Democratic Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Black’s signature – children under 14 would need to be home by 9 p.m. year-round, among the earliest curfews nationally. Teens 14 to 16 years old would have a curfew of 10 p.m. on weeknights during the school year and 11 p.m. on weekends.

“We did that because it’s just old-school common sense,” Councilman Brandon Scott, the bill’s lead supporter, said. “If you’re going to ask young people to be up and ready for school at 6:30, 7 o’clock in the morning, then they should not be out at 11 p.m. at night.”

The bill also imposes a daytime curfew during school hours – 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. – restricting youth under 16 from being in public places or stores when they should be in class.

Baltimore’s mayor hailed the curfew, an expanded version of the curfew the city already has in place, as a way to keep kids safe.

“I am not willing to gamble on the lives our of children,” she said.

The measure, which drew shouts of “boo!” from inside the City Hall chamber and attracted a couple dozen protesters outside, comes as Baltimore’s violence rises. The city has one of the highest crime rates in the country and last year, had a 7.3 percent rise in homicides, according to Reuters.

But the curfew is controversial. Opponents argue it won’t lower youth delinquency and police experts say such strict curfews are hard to enforce.

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