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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 149382 Find in a Library
Title: Curfew Revival Gains Momentum
Journal: Governing  Volume:7  Issue:5  Dated:(February 1994)  Pages:20-21
Author(s): N Watzman
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 2
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the increasing popularity of curfew laws as a means of reducing juvenile crime, in spite of the opposition of police and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Abstract: Curfew laws are one means of reducing the public's anxiety about crime. They represent a desire by community groups and politicians to try any method to curb violence. For police, however, the new curfews are yet another mandate that requires resources they do not have. The curfews are keeping police busy. In North Little Rock, the police department has appointed a juvenile intake officer to process teens brought in for curfew violations, so that patrol officers can get back on patrol quickly. In Phoenix the police decided to join forces with the city's parks department to keep recreation centers open at night and staff them with both police officers and recreation specialists. Police who find juveniles violating the new curfew drop them off at the centers, where police process them and call their parents. After this, the recreation staff provides various options for the youth, including basketball, television, board games, or just conversation, until the juvenile's parents arrive. The ACLU is taking curfews to court all over the Nation to argue that they are a violation of constitutional rights. "Rather than address actual misconduct of the small percentage of youths who may be engaged in unlawful activity," the New Jersey ACLU charged last November, "Curfews rely on the control and repression of fundamental freedoms of speech, assembly, and the right to travel." So far, constitutional challenges have produced mixed results. The emerging pattern seems to be that the more exceptions the law includes for specified "acceptable activities," the more likely it is to survive constitutional challenges. Evidence regarding the effectiveness of curfews in reducing crime is inconclusive.
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency prevention
Index Term(s): Crime prevention measures; Curfew; Police attitudes
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