4Youth curfews have been a topic of debate for decades.

While some may think curfews have some value and benefit, there are many reasons why they are considered unhealthy for the community of Fayetteville. This publication agrees with City Councilmen Hondros and Benavente that the plan by Fayetteville Police Chief Kemberle Braden on implementing a youth curfew is not well thought out and only serves as a diversion from addressing the real crime problem.

From our perspective, curfews are trying to do what parents are failing to do and are a violation of young people's rights. It inhibits their freedom of movement and association with their peers, which is essential for natural personal development. It also can lead to subjective and unnecessary criminalization of young people and actually introduce them to the criminal justice system for minor violations. Then you have the racial and socioeconomic disparities that will undoubtedly become an issue as the curfews disproportionately affect low-income minority neighborhoods. And, what about the effect curfews could have on young people's social lives, and how will it affect those with late-night jobs?

Basically, I think curfews will only exacerbate the problem. With restrictions on nighttime movement and activities, young people could feel persecuted, causing them to rebel, leading to more crime, violence, and complex mental health issues.

The Fayetteville-Cumberland County community (law enforcement and elected officials) should not embrace punitive measures but spend more time doing their jobs and addressing the underlying causes of local youth crime and delinquency, such as lack of policing, scarce recreational job opportunities, poverty, and dysfunctional family issues.

Chief Kemberle Braden is doing a decent job with the resources he has. He needs more. Instituting laws to remedy conditions and situations that local law enforecement fails to control is NOT the answer. Sensible alternatives to addressing local youth crime in Fayetteville are within their purview, but youth curfews are not the answer. I will close with this sentiment: the child's behavior is the parent's responsibility.

If an underage child is apprehended breaking the law, the negligent parents (or parent) need to be held responsible. Fayetteville car thefts, gun violence, and property crimes can only be curbed through effective law enforcement and social reforms. Crime reduction cannot be legislated. Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

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