Baltimore’s new curfew laws have gone into effect; according to an August 9 article in Reuters. Under the law, children under the age of 14 must be off the streets by 9 PM. Children ages 14-16 must be off the street by 10 during weekdays and 11 during weekends and summer.
Civil groups expressed concern over the “vagueness” of the law. In a June 22 article in the NY Times, civil and other community leaders felt the curfew may lead to a disproportionately number of minorities behind detained. In Kansas City, 75% of those detained were black; but only 30% of the population were black; based on 2013 statistics.
According to the City Mayors website, Omaha Nebraska was the first city to adopt a curfew. This occurred in 1880. As of 2009, over 500 cities have adopted some form of a curfew. San Antonio Texas saw an 84% decrease in youth (victimization of) crimes 3 years after enacting a curfew. Other Cities, like Detroit, Cincinnati, and New Orleans, saw similar declines.
The Bible does not speak specifically on the subject of curfews. It does, in the book of Romans, remind everyone of their responsibility to obey government. The book of Proverbs says that children should be trained in the way they should go, and they would not depart from their training once they are older. Meaning, if they are not taught to be obedient at a young age; they would not obey once older.
100 parents were asked about the legal and spiritual aspects of curfews. 95% of those surveyed felt that curfews should be legally imposed in Cities with high crime rates. 55% percent felt that the Bible supported discipline taking place between parent and child; not government and child. Most (75%) of those surveyed felt that parents should not be held accountable at all.
Curfews are typically put in place in the summer. They are designed to not only keep kids off the streets; but also to keep them safe. Do you think that curfews would be more effective if violators were forced to do community service?