Why Juvenile Curfews Don’t Work to Curb Crime
In a perfect world, there would be no crime. All the bad people would just stop doing bad things and we could all go about our lives without any worry.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world and crime is always going to happen. This is why we need to make sure that the laws we have in place are actually serving their purpose and working to curb crime rates.
So, let’s talk about juvenile curfews and their purpose in our society.
The primary goal of juvenile law
A juvenile curfew is a law that sets out restrictions for minors, such as when they can go outside after dark or what they can be doing at certain hours. Many municipalities place strong importance on these curfews because they supposedly allow juveniles to remain safe and adults to remain stress-free knowing that their children are indoors during a specific period.
Juvenile curfews were introduced for two reasons; in order to get minors off the streets and into their homes, where they are safe; and to reduce crimes committed by minors. However, this has never had a lasting effect on crime rates because it doesn’t deter would-be criminals from committing a crime!
Because while such curfews have been a common solution to curbing crime for a long time, the facts have never favored them.
What do history and studies tell us?
In a systematic review conducted on juvenile curfew effects on criminal behavior and victimization, it was found that curfews didn’t decrease criminal activities.
“The pattern of evidence suggests that juvenile curfews are ineffective at reducing crime and victimization,” concluded the review.
“The mean effect size for juvenile crime during curfew hours was slightly positive (reflecting a slight increase in crime), whereas it was essentially zero for crime during all hours. Both effects were nonsignificant. Similarly, juvenile victimization also appeared unaffected by the imposition of a curfew ordinance,” it further added.
What’s more, it strains the already poor relationship that juveniles and police share with each other and may promote further victimization of people of color.
The main reasons why juvenile curfews don’t work
The logic behind the law suggests that the curfew would decrease crime because ‘there won’t be crimes involving a juvenile if there are no juveniles.’
But the reason why the juvenile curfew has never had a lasting effect on crime rates is that it doesn’t deter would-be criminals from committing a crime or encourage law-abiding citizens to be more aware of their surroundings.
It simply stops criminals from committing a crime during a specified period during the day. They are free to commit them at any other time. And that’s a loophole that this juvenile crime law doesn’t consider.
Another possible reason could be that surveillance isn’t the ideal solution to reduce crime. The “efforts to reduce or deter crime are complex (as are the causes of crime)… pointing to one method of reducing crime is an erroneous path,” states the Municipal Technical Advisory Service of Tennessee.
Furthermore, about 2.1 million minor offenders are arrested every year. And they are typically convicted of drug crimes, drunk driving, burglary, property offenses, and the like, which are not likely to be deterred by a curfew.
The need to look for innovative ways to reduce juvenile crimes in Baltimore
The implementation of juvenile curfews has, time and again, failed to improve public safety and reduce juvenile crime. Instead, these laws undermine parental responsibility and punish innocent minors for being minors.
And one shouldn’t be surprised if these minor offenders, once released from juvenile detention, commit other crimes. In fact, 76% to 84% of offenders commit a crime within 3 years and 5 years of their release.
Preventing juveniles from committing crimes
The first step to curbing juvenile crimes isn’t to put juveniles in house arrests, rather get to the root of the issue. In the case of juvenile offenders, this could be done by finding out the reason behind their angst, aggression, and criminal tendencies.
Even experts who work with juveniles agree that therapy, training, and support are the only ways to curb juvenile crimes.
Besides, some of the reasons why juveniles become repeat offenders may be that after committing a minor crime, which is usually triggered by trauma or bad influence, they are met with a lot of stigmas by society, even after being released.
The courts and jury aren’t always very forgiving, either, and juveniles may feel lost in the adult world. As a result, this can lead to a loss of trust and hope and make them fall back into a familiar pattern of crime.
Therefore, it is extremely important to work with an experienced juvenile attorney who can make a strong case in favor of the juvenile and make sure they are presented with the right opportunities for correction.
This minor step can bring about a major behavioral change in any juvenile’s life.
Preventing crimes against juveniles
A curfew is never going to work unless it is in combination with other types of punishment. For the law to work, there needs to be a punishment that’s effective enough for the criminal to steer clear of minor victims.
Partnering with an expert Baltimore juvenile lawyer will actually help you set a precedent and get a just verdict to prevent future crimes against juveniles.
With so much evidence against juvenile curfews, it is high time we take a closer look at it and understand why it has proven to be so ineffective so that we can present the future of our society with concrete resolutions.
Meanwhile, however insignificant violating juvenile laws might seem to teenagers, remember that these violations will almost always be accompanied by penalties – regardless of big or small.
To prevent the matter from getting out of hand, ensure to consult with a qualified lawyer who is well-versed with juvenile law and charges. Having a professional beside you can make or break your case, so choose your legal aid wisely.