Will a strict new youth curfew ordinance that requires some kids to be off Baltimore streets by 9 p.m. help keep the city’s youth safe, or is it a distraction from police who are already too busy to enforce such a law?
Mayor Rawlings-Blake and most members of Baltimore City Council supported a new curfew law approved Monday, while onlookers booed from a balcony and chanted “no new curfews,” reports WBAL TV.
An existing curfew – which critics contend isn’t enforced, as they argued against the tighter restrictions -- allows kids under 17 to stay out until 11 p.m. during the week and midnight on weekends. The new law says kids younger than 14 have to be inside by 9 p.m., while teens ages 14-16 have to be off the streets by 10 p.m. on school nights and 11 p.m. on non-school nights.What do you think of a city-mandated curfew for kids? Does it work? Do you wish your community had one? Tell us in comments.
The new curfew will take effect 60 days after the mayor signs the law. Rawlings-Blake said the measure will identify families in need of intervention, The Baltimore Sun reports. The law won't take effect until about mid-August, a delay that's expected to give the administration time to open a year-round curfew center where police will take youths picked up on the streets, and then contact their parents.
Parents would face fines ranging from $30 to a maximum of $500; they can avoid the fine by taking part in counseling and community service.
Exceptions to the curfew include youths out with a parent, going home from a job, or attending a religious events or recreational activity, the newspaper says.