07-16-14-pub-notes.gifTick Tock: City Looks at Curfews for Teens

Shortly after Mayor Nat Robertson took office, I had a chance to sit down with him in his home to talk about his priorities as the new mayor for the City of Fayetteville. Unhesitatingly, he said crime in our city was his number one priority. He hasn’t wavered on that.

Since taking office, Robertson has put his time and the city’s money into crime prevention — including finding ways for the city’s beleaguered police force to hire more personnel. That move will enable him to put more police in the community and to put community policing into action.

Last week, Robertson announced that the city is looking at enforcing a citywide curfew for teens under the age of 14. Some people think Robertson is overreaching — taking the authority of parents away. I disagree. When parents don’t take authority over their children, I applaud anyone who will.

 

I think Robertson’s proposal doesn’t go far enough. I think teens under the age of 18 should be required to be in their homes between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. — even those teens who have dropped out of school — especially those teens who have dropped out of school.

For those who are opposed to the idea, check this out.

Earlier this year, The National League of Cities released a survey showing that curfews do work.

In conjunction with the survey, the league polled 800 cities that have implemented curfews. The results show that curfews are “cost effective and useful,” and that a “growing number of city officials have confidence in curfews as an effective strategy to help curb gang violence.”

Of the 800 cities polled, the following results were found:

• 97 percent say curfews are effective in combating juvenile crime

• 96 percent say curfews are effective in fighting truancy

• 88 percent say curfews are effective reducing gang violence

• 56 percent reported drops in violent crime within one year of implementing a nighttime curfew

• 55 percent reported a drop in gang activity

• 88 percent reported no problems implementing their curfew

• 89 percent said there were no significant new costs for their police departments

Of the cities polled, 52 percent had curfews of 11 p.m. during the week for those individuals under the age of 18. The curfews were extended to midnight on the weekends by 55 percent of the cities. And, yes, the cities had exceptions for those teens who worked and were on their way home.

If a curfew can drop violent crime by 56 percent and drop gang activity (which usually means drugs, property crime and violent crime), then bring on the curfew, I say. Let parents become responsible for their children. And, in the words of my mom, who diligently enforced my 11 p.m. curfew (which started when I was 16 — I had to be in by 9 p.m. before that), “You can’t do anything after 11 that you can’t do before then, but there’s a lot of bad that goes on after that.”

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