Should Alameda impose a nighttime curfew on teenagers?
A that left six young teenagers injured has prompted discussion about whether the Island needs a curfew regulating the hours that minors can be on the streets.
Here are some points to consider:
Typically, local curfews cover the hours of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., sometimes with slightly different hours for weekends. In recent years, some cities and counties have also imposed daytime curfews for teens during normal school hours.
Proponents say curfews protect teens from becoming crime victims as well as deterring crimes committed by youth.
Studies of the impact of curfews have not shown a strong relationship between curfews and a reduction in youth crime. For example, a study by the Justice Policy Institute of the effects of curfews in several California cities concluded that curfews are "more a public relations tool than a crimefighting tool." The study noted that although enactment of more curfew laws had led to a fourfold increase in curfew-related arrests, there was no corresponding decrease in youth crime. A study at Purdue University concluded "the evidence does not support the argument that curfews prevent crime and victimization."
Curfews have frequently been the target of lawsuits by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other groups. However, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Dallas, TX curfew after a challenge by the ACLU. Justices cited the Dallas ordinance's various exceptions, which included teens returning home from evening jobs and those who had written permission from their parents. The Dallas ordinance has been used as a model by several other cities since then.
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