On Tuesday, the Montgomery County Council is scheduled to take up a much-debated proposal to establish a curfew for youths under 18. Such curfews hold appeal to many people, but there are reports the council is considering setting aside the plan indefinitely. There are three primary reasons that would be the smart thing to do.
First, youth curfews get the crime problem wrong. They target the wrong time of day, the wrong age group and the wrong type of crime. A rigorous analysis of the impact of Prince George’s County’s curfew, conducted by the Urban Institute in 2003, demonstrated that 88 percent of police calls and youth arrests occur outside curfew hours. Most arrests involve suspects too old to be covered by the curfew.