After numerous urban riots in the 1960s, government officials increasingly turned to curfews. As a review of the bill in the late 1960s explained, “curfews are rapidly becoming one of the most popular ways to combat unrest in the government official`s arsenal.” (“Judicial Review of riot curfew” at p. 1560). The stated purpose of most curfew laws is twofold: to prevent juvenile delinquency and to protect young people from victimization. According to Ruefle and Reynolds` analysis, those who support teen curfews point out that neighborhoods affected by high crime rates can use curfews as a “way to protect non-offender youth from crime and deny the possibility of criminal behavior.” 55 By preventing minors under the age of 18 from walking the street, curfews should reduce the incidence of crime in the cohort most likely to be delinquent, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation`s (FBI) Uniform Crime Report (UCR) of 1994.56 Given that juvenile offenders often take other juveniles as victims, it is hoped that the rate of juvenile victimization will also decrease. In Nunez v. City of San Diego (1997), the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals, a curfew law, in order to withstand judicial review, generally must include an exception for minors involved in First Amendment-protected activities such as political events, anti-death penalty protests, or religious services. Other factors that contribute to the implementation of successful curfew policies include: Confusion on this issue in the lower courts is likely to persist until the Supreme Court reviews the constitutionality of a youth curfew law or curfew enacted after an emergency. It`s a summer ritual in most U.S. cities — a curfew for teens to keep supposedly dangerous teens off the street. But do they work? Research shows that they may not. The U.S.
Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs (DOJ), conducted an in-depth study of crime in New Orleans before and after the introduction of the youth curfew, and found that the laws were ineffective. Most curfew laws only apply to young people under the age of 18. In contrast, other curfew laws are enacted temporarily in response to a natural disaster or civil unrest (and apply to everyone in a city or region). This is often the case when martial law is invoked. A common argument is that youth curfew laws discriminate on the basis of age. This kind of challenge has not been effective. Challenges based on unlawful arrest or racial profiling were more effective. Traditionally under the jurisdiction of local governments, curfews are commonplace in cities and towns across America, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
In a December 1995 survey of 1,000 cities with more than 30,000 inhabitants, the conference found that 70 percent, or 270, of the 387 cities that responded have a curfew. Another 6 percent, or 23 cities, are considering passing curfew laws, according to the survey.50 cities that have issued new curfew ordinances or amended existing curfew laws since 1994 include Arlington, VA; Austin, Texas; Baltimore, MD; Buffalo, NY; Phoenix, AZ; Oklahoma City, okay; and San Jose, CA.51 Emergency curfew laws allow state and local governments to impose curfews on businesses. These laws help maintain health and safety in times of crisis. Created by FindLaw`s team of legal writers and writers | Last update June 02, 2020 The ordinance adopted by the City in June 1991 prohibits people under the age of 17 from staying in a public place or establishment between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weekdays and between midnight and 6 a.m. on weekends. The law does not apply if the young person goes to or from work, church or a civic event; if the young person is accompanied by a parent or guardian; in an emergency; if the young person runs for a parent or guardian; or if the teen is on the sidewalk in front of their home. The maximum penalty for violating the order is a fine of $500.
The minor`s parent may also be fined if he or she allows a minor to remain in a public place during the curfew. Penalties for violating the curfew vary by jurisdiction. Common sanctions include: Brief introduction to the various legal challenges raised against juvenile curfew laws, often based on state or federal constitutional rights (including the First Amendment). Overview of curfew laws specifically for minors (usually under the age of 18), including a summary of exempted activities, generally penalties for violations, and selective enforcement of curfew laws in some jurisdictions. It is common for a city`s curfew law to remain “in force” but is only enforced at regular intervals. Typically, this is done in response by law enforcement agencies to local crises or increased cases of crime or violence. However, the Court noted that while the District of Columbia has an overriding interest in passing the bill, it has been expanded without considering less restrictive means to achieve the three objectives of the curfew law. The U.S. District Court criticized the data compiled by the District of Columbia and expressed concern about the city`s inability to prove that issuing a curfew would ensure public safety. In drafting the law, the city council relied on “extrapolated” crime statistics that did not distinguish between crimes committed by minors and the time of day the crimes were committed.
In other words, the statistics did not show a clear link between the stated purpose of the law and the restriction imposed on all young people. The court also found that the data relied on by the District of Columbia was incorrect. The data included 18-year-olds as minors, while the curfew law considered people under the age of 17 to be minors. In addition, most of the data were based on federal statistics rather than local statistics. In fact, the court pointed out that the District of Columbia ignored data showing that more than 90 percent of all minors do not commit crimes and are arrested at night or at any other time. Despite their popularity with local governments, existing studies show little evidence to support the idea that curfews are effective in reducing crime.