Background: Curfews have been in place since the early 1900s but weren’t enforced for minors until the 80s and 90s as juvenile crime rose. Curfews are intended to both keep teens from committing crimes and to prevent them from becoming victims themselves. Most curfews are enforced on a local level and generally take effect from 11pm-7am; punishments usually consist of a substantive fine. However, curfew laws are normally exempted if an adult is with the underage individual or in emergency situations.
- The Supreme Court’s interpretation of freedom of speech is broad; freedom of assembly is overly narrow.
- There is no reason to distinguish between adults and juveniles–crime is crime.
- Juvenile crime makes up the lowest proportion of crime altogether (excluding crime by the elderly).
- Despite the vast amount of expert testimony in support of curfew laws, there is no empirical evidence stating that curfew laws actually work, as shown by Mike Males and Dan Macallair’s study.
- Curfews are the equivalent of keeping millions of law-abiding citizens under house arrest each night.
- Curfew laws are normally voided if the juvenile is in the present of a guardian or in an emergency situation.
- Keeping the youth inside prevents them from committing crimes at unsupervised times and limits gang activity.
- On non-school days, juvenile violent crime peaks around 8p.m., falling quickly by 11 p.m. when most curfews take effect (Snyder and Sickmund, 2006).
- A survey done by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that the officials in 88% of the cities with curfew laws believed that they helped reduce juvenile crime.
– A Brief History of Juvenile Curfews.” Associated Content from Yahoo! Web. 20 Mar. 2011. <http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/326411/a_brief_history_of_juvenile_curfews.html>.
– Jahn, Rich. “Analysis of U.S. Curfew Laws.” National Youth Rights Association. Web. 20 Mar. 2011. <http://www.youthrights.org/curfewana.php>.
– Yeide, Martha. “Curfew Violation Literature Reveiw.” Development Services Group, Inc., 15 Oct. 2009. <http://www2.dsgonline.com/dso2/Curfew%20Violation%20Literature%20Review.pdf>.