October 15, 2007

DC Curfew

Filed under: Youth Rights — Katrina @ 11:56 pm

You know, I’ve lived in the DC area my whole life, and one thing I’m utterly ashamed of about Washington DC is that the city has a youth curfew. Curfews mean the city is unsafe. Curfews also make the city unsafe.

The law in DC is that no one under the age of 17 is allowed outside after 11pm. The city officials made this law believing that this would convince city residents they are doing something about crime. How exactly is scapegoating a group of innocent people going to stop crime? You’re just blaming it on people that everybody already hates.

Furthermore, it’s dangerous. If there is a crime problem, that means law enforcement is already inadequate. How do you cure a problem of inadequate law enforcement by giving them more to do?

Who was helping the woman who was raped, but there were no cops around to save her, because they were off apprehending a 16-year-old who was coming home from work a little bit late?

What do you tell the little kids whose house was broken into late at night when all the police officers were busy waiting outside a club somewhere for the crowd to let out so they could arrest good kids for curfew violation?

What will you tell those same little kids when Daddy won’t be coming home because he was mugged by a 30-year-old, but the police were elsewhere bothering a 19-year-old who looked like he might be too young to be out?

Who’s helping these people? The curfew is not protecting anybody! The curfew is distracting the main protection they have. Instead, law enforcement is chasing after a scapegoated demographic, and this makes everyone more vulnerable, everyone more unsafe.

Curfews aren’t the answer. They just increase crime. They’re good only for lazy police officers who don’t want to actually do any work. If you want to stop a crime problem, you can’t just go discriminating against people, taking away their constitutional right just to be outside. It doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t do anyone any good. It is just a “feel good” law that accomplishes nothing.

If you really want to stop crime, get rid of the curfew, strengthen law enforcement, and send them after the real criminals.

3 Comments

  1. Win.

    Comment by Adamantaimai — October 16, 2007 @ 12:45 am

  2. I made a video of this entry! Well, actually, the video came first, but the original didn’t come out well, so I copied the transcript here as this entry. Today I remade the video, with a little more content. I posted the new video’s transcript over on the NYRA blog.

    Here’s the video.
    DC Curfew

    Comment by Katrina — October 20, 2007 @ 9:25 pm

  3. Great argument against curfews. Had I read this a week ago, I might have used it against the local curfew.

    Comment by Stefan — October 26, 2007 @ 5:28 pm

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