Dear Commons Community,
A new youth curfew law, among the strictest in the nation, took effect in Baltimore last Friday. It requires unaccompanied children under the age of 14 to be indoors by 9 p.m. and for 14, 15 and 16-year-olds to be indoors by 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends and during the summer. Children found out on the streets can be picked up by police and escorted to one of two recreational centers set up by the city until parents or guardians pick them up.
Support for the new curfew varies. As reported in the Baltimore Sun:
“Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blakes says the rules will help keep kids out of harm’s way in a city that has long struggled with high crime. But civil liberties groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, say the rules are too vague and make negative interactions between police and children all but inevitable.
Anthony McNutt, father of a 17-year-old daughter, likes the idea of a curfew to ensure that young people are inside at a reasonable hour and to hold neglectful parents accountable.
“It has the potential to save lives,” said McNutt, who lives in Park Heights.
McNutt worries, though, that the curfew could prove to be a challenge for single parents who work more than one job and cannot leave to pick up their children at a curfew center. “I want to know what’s in place for those parents who aren’t neglecting their kids,” he said.
Others, including the American Civil Liberties Union, say the law will bring more young people into the criminal justice system. Enforcement of the curfew could disproportionately impact minorities, some warn.”
I tend to favor the curfew.