Should young people be subjected to night-time curfews as a way to reduce crime?
Please cast your vote after you've read the arguments.
You can also add to the debate by leaving a comment at the end of the page.
Youth crime is a major and growing problem, often involving both drugs and violence.
Youth crime is a major and growing problem, often involving both drugs and violence. Particularly worrying is the rise of youth gangs who can terrorise urban areas and create a social climate in which criminality becomes a norm. Imposing youth curfews can help to solve these problems, as they keep young people off the street, and therefore out of trouble, and prevent them from congregating in the hours of darkness. Curfews are easy to police compared to other forms of crime prevention, and are therefore effective.
Curfews are not an effective solution to the problem of youth crime; research in the USA suggests that there is no link between areas that achieved a reduction in juvenile crime and areas with youth curfews. Although some places did see a reduction in youth crime, this often had more to do with other strategies, such as zero-tolerance policing, or indeed with demographic and economic changes affecting the numbers and prospects of youth people. In any case, most juvenile crime appears to take place between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., after the end of school and before working parents return home, rather than in the hours covered by curfews.
The use of child curfews can help to protect vulnerable children.
The use of child curfews can help to protect vulnerable children. Although responsible parents do not let young children out in the streets after dark, not all parents are responsible and inevitably their children suffer, both from crime and in accidents, and are likely to fall into bad habits. Society should ensure that such neglected children are returned home safely and that their parents are made to face up to their responsibilities.
Youth curfews infringe upon individual rights and liberties. Children have a right to freedom of movement and assembly which curfews directly undermine, by criminalising their simple presence in a public space. This reverses the presumption of innocence by assuming all young people are potential law-breakers. They are also subject to blanket discrimination on the grounds of age, despite the fact that only a few young people ever commit a criminal offence and that adults too commit crime. Furthermore, curfews infringe upon the rights of parents to bring up their children as they choose. Simply because we dislike the way some parents treat their children should not mean that we intervene to stop it; should we intervene in families where religious beliefs mean girls are treated as inferior to boys, or in homes where corporal punishment is practised?
There is no good reason for children to be out unaccompanied late at night.
There is no good reason for children to be out unaccompanied late at night, so a curfew is not really a restriction upon their liberty. They would be better off at home doing schoolwork and interacting with the rest of their families.
Children in their mid-teens have many legitimate reasons to be out at night without adults. Many will have part-time jobs, for example in fast-food restaurants or delivering newspapers. Others will wish to participate in activities such as church groups, youth clubs or school trips. Requiring adults always to take them to and from such activities is unreasonable and will ensure that many never take place in the first place, either because adults are unwilling, or are unable to do so. More sinisterly, some children are subject to abuse at home and actually feel safer out on the streets.
Child curfews are a form of zero tolerance policing.
Child curfews are a form of zero tolerance policing, showing that a community will not allow an atmosphere of lawlessness to develop. The idea of zero tolerance comes from the theory that if low-level crimes, like graffiti-spraying, window breaking and drug-dealing (all common juvenile offences) are not acted against swiftly and effectively by the police, then a permissive atmosphere is created where violence and other serious crimes flourish and law and order breaks down entirely. Child curfews can help to the police to establish a climate of zero tolerance and to create a safer community for everyone.
Youth curfews have great potential for abuse, raising civil rights issues. Evidence from U.S. cities suggests that police arrest far more black children than white for curfew violations. Curfews will tend to be imposed upon poor areas in inner cities with few places for children to amuse themselves safely and within the law, compounding social exclusion with physical exclusion from public spaces. These problems will also be made worse by the inevitable deterioration in relations between the police and the young people subject to the curfew.
Child curfews can help to change a negative youth culture.
Child curfews can help to change a negative youth culture in which challenging the law is seen as desirable and gang membership an aspiration. Impressionable youngsters would be kept away from gang activity on the streets at night and a cycle of admiration and recruitment would be broken. By spending more time with their families and in more positive activities, such as sports and youth clubs, which curfews make a more attractive option for bored youngsters, greater self-esteem and discipline can be developed.
Imposing child curfews would actually be counter-productive, as it would increase juvenile offending by turning millions of generally law-abiding young people into criminals. Already in the USA, more children are charged with curfew offences than with any other crime. Yet once children acquire a criminal record they cross a psychological boundary, making it much more likely that they will perceive themselves as criminal and have much less respect for the law in general, leading to more serious forms of offending. At the same time a criminal record harms their opportunities in employment and so increases the social deprivation and desperation which breed crime.
Other schemes aimed at reducing youth crime are desirable.
Other schemes aimed at reducing youth crime are desirable of themselves but will work best in conjunction with curfews. If a troubled area develops a whole culture of lawlessness, it will be very difficult to identify particular young criminals in order to rehabilitate them. A curfew takes the basically law-abiding majority off the streets, allowing the police to engage with the most difficult element. Curfews are a tool in the struggle to improve lives in run-down areas; they are likely to be used for relatively short periods of a few weeks or months in order to bring a situation under control so that other measures can be put in place and given a chance to work.
A number of alternative strategies exist which are likely to do more to reduce youth crime. For example, rather than a blanket curfew covering all young people, individual curfews could be imposed upon particular trouble-makers, perhaps involving electronic tagging, breaking up gangs without labelling an entire age-group as criminal. A Scottish scheme puts plenty of police officers on the streets at night with a brief to engage with young people, deterring crime while steering them towards a range of youth activities available at clubs set up by the local council.Other successful schemes aim to work individually with young troublemakers, in order to cut their reoffending rate, for example by requiring them to meet with victims of crime so that they understand the consequences of their actions, and by pairing them with trained mentors. Overall, governments need to ensure good educational opportunities and employment prospects in order to bring optimism to communities where youngsters feel that their futures are pretty hopeless.
Minors don't have rights.
Minors don't have rights. The government has always placed restrictions on minors such as requiring them to go to school, prohibited drinking and prohibited minors from being in tanning salons.
No one has rights. The 1st amendment of the US constitution says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…" NOT "people have the right to freedom of religion, freedom of speech…" so why can't the government create a law abridging a minor's right to free speech or impose a curfew on adults?
It teaches teenagers to be responsible and also considerate of other people around them
Teens may not like the idea of a curfew in the beginning and they may fight with parents about it. But parents need to remember that kids will eventually thank them for the curfew when they become young adults cause then they will finally understand why they had a curfew. Don't feel like bad parents despite how much the teens yell at you during the teen years. Teens just don't realise what parents do or say the things they do when they are young.
Most teens don't understand that they don't need much freedom since they are irresponsible and not adult yet. Most teens get into trouble if they have too much freedom to do anything they want to do. Teens shouldn't be treated like adults when they aren't very responsible. In a way, curfews does prepare them for the future by helping them to be able to handle being a responsible young adult once when they reach that age.
Quite to the contrary, if we place our teens under such scrutiny then they will only rebel. They will be more determined to stay out passed the curfew and cause mischief. Instead we should show our teens respect and trust. That way they will feel more guilt should they break such trust.
As well how will they learn to become mature if they have never been shown the respect or had the benefits you will not take on the responsibilities until you are given the freedoms that come with.
They will learn the importance of being on time to places
The teens need to be assisted to understand the importance of being on time to places and in the future to work also other events. It will be easier for them to go from a teen to a young adult when they reach that age. It will help them get through college and be able to study for exams without having a difficult time keeping a regular schedule. And when they succeed in their studies, they have a good way of living, so it's reducing the crime rate.
Bu they will not know why they are being kept in, they will not have the reasoning to be able to see why they were kept in. They will only know that they have ti be home for a certain time. Once that restriction goes, they will make the most of it and go AWOL. We need to teach them why they should stay in, not just rule with an iron fist in the hope they merely copy in future life.
Bored teenagers will spend the night playing football/basketball or some other fun outdoor activity
if there were no curfews in certain U.S states; many young convicts in the making, would have something non-criminal to do at night. A lot of vandalism is the product of boredom, as are many petty crimes. When sports' complexes, gyms and eat-outs are closed off to teenagers, after hours; they are bound to entertain themselves in other ways.
A lot of students find it difficult to study at home, nights are spent far more more productively in the school or public library.
Really most young people are scared of a criminal record. Have you seen the young people these days. A criminal record is only as good as what you've got it for I have a criminal record from when I was young and stupid and it has never interfered in my academic or professional career. All employers take criminal records with a pinch of salt.
most young people are afraid of a criminal record marring their professional and academic career and would think twice about sneaking out after hours when there's a curfew.
Watching a movie or studying at night at home, isn't a bad idea.
It is physically impossible to hold teenagers under house arrest without
Performing some kind of abuse.
Parents should not have to 'force' their children to not go out at all. Or to only attend family events at night or to only get out when there's an emergency. Concerts, night galas and sports' games/matches, mostly happen in the night. Robbing young people of a healthy social life, is the perfect way to foster teenage porn addiction or at the very least: bad posture.
Maybe teenagers need to spend time at home with family and sleeping over at a friends' house is not prohibited by a curfew.
most car accidents happen at night, when a sleepy/drunk teenager is driving home, it's best for teenagers not to be city hopping all night.
Juvenile criminals tend not to listen to their parents
putting a curfew on them would make no sense. They will still go out, the excitement of flirting with the law would make sneaking out of the house even more attractive than before, when they would only have been hoodwinking their parents.
Thats the point of flirting with the law the police can't be everywhere there will just be an outbreak of illegal young people meets and yes you might get caught but theres a good chance you won't. if you look at all the illegal partys going on at the minute plenty of people turn up to them though there is a high chance of getting arrested.
teenagers up-to no good, skulking about in the night will be caught by the cops/police so the fun of flirting with the law will be over.
Deemed Unconstitutional (in some cases)
In some cases the legal courts have ruled that curfews are unconstitutional. Based on the 14th Amendment which states "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
Based on this Amendment no matter how practical or impractical curfews are. They can be deemed unconstitutional unless exceptions are present. In which case the Minor's "rights" aren't impaired or abridge. Exceptions can include written notes from parents, circumstances that require the minor to break curfew, late night work, and errands. Curfew's that don't allow breakage at all. Can be shot down in the courts unless exceptions are present such as ones I listed above.
I will point out not all curfew cases have been deemed unconstitutional. Some were deemed to vague and some impede on parents right to punish or teach their children themselves. Another amendment used is the 1st Amendment. The right to assemble peacefully and to speak openly. However, most court cases repeal or deem them unconstitutional.
There has been no solid evidence linked in court cases. That have found curfews being strong factor on youth crimes. However it does spark rebellion against parents, and the law. Minors under the age of restriction, will likely break curfew anyways. They may be encouraged to do so. When hard evidence about statistics is presented. I'll remove this argument. Most cases have failed even with evidence. At some point or another Minors will rebel against curfew laws. So, I'm strongly against it. I'm 18 years old and firmly believe equal rights amongst minors.
What do you think?