But the curfews are already causing controversy. Supporters say the curfews will keep kids safe and help curb rising crime; but residents and civil rights advocates criticized the curfew, saying police could become too aggressive with the city’s youth in a town where the relationship between police and the black community is already strained. Some say it’s tantamount to kids being forced on house arrest.

“There’s already a huge amount of police brutality, with adults being targeted, but now police are going to have the green light to do the exact same thing to young people,” Colleen Davidson, a youth organizer who opposes the curfew, told reporters. Mayor Rawlings-Blake, who is African American, said she supports the new curfew. “I am not willing to gamble on the lives of our children,” she said.

Here’s the issue: Baltimore has one of the highest crime rates in the country and homicides are increasing. So is it fair to impose curfews on Baltimore’s young people, many of whom are black? Will keeping them off the streets actually reduce crime or will it result in more confrontations with police? Certainly a case could be argued that the more police interact with black youth, the greater the probability that tensions could flare up. And what are police planning to do with young people who are violation of the curfew? This seems problematic.

“In concept, this may be a good idea,” said Chuck Drago, a police procedures expert who worked for the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, police department when they instituted a juvenile curfew in the late 1990s. “But it’s very difficult and very rare that a police department can actually follow through with these curfews.” And some lawyers even argue that the new curfew is legally unconstitutional.

“This is not a criminal enforcement act by the police,” Rawlings-Blake said. “This is about taken them out of harm’s way before a situation materializes where their being on the street becomes a law enforcement concern,” she said. “We have to look for ways to support kids in need, vulnerable children,” the mayor added. “One way we identify those kids are the ones that are out unsupervised.”

The mayor seems firm in her beliefs. Only time will tell if the curfews are a good idea – or trouble waiting to happen. What do you think?

(Photo: City of Baltimore)

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17 thoughts on “COMMENTARY: Is Baltimore Mayor Right To Support Curfew Targeting Black Teens?

  1. ambientbake on said:

    Until blacks can in general develop and maintain strong 2 parent households for the benefit of their children and start valuing and appreciating education, there will always be trouble with, and for, the blacks of this country.

  2. Linda on said:

    The Mayor is right. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS WATCH THE SHOWTIME DOCUMENTARY 12 O’CLOCK BOYS AND THE MOTIVATION IS THERE FOR THE DECISION. Baltimore youth are in trouble.

  3. I wish my area would do that! the midnight summer curfew is ridiculous – and ignored. All night these rugrats make noise all hours of the night, and cops have better things to do than babysit. But I don’t understand how parents let their 10 year olds or younger run around in the dark! My mom said, “be in this house before the street lights come on”. It’s too easy to snatch a kid these days and parents are dropping he ball with discipline and security. 9pm curfew is not harsh, but parents let their kids run the streets so they don’t have to deal with them. Don’t become a parent if you don’t want the job!!

  4. B more Alum on said:

    As a TJMS X mas Wish alum I couldn’t wait to get the h@ out of B more!!!!! My friends all left me years ago when they said Section 8 thugs were being moved around me to give their baby mamas better access to schools etc. My daughters graduated from GREAT B more high schools (all girls Westerna dn School for the Arts). Well MAYORS how did that work out for you??? B more will ALWAYS be hugsville because PARENTS are thugs. Everytime I dealt with a thugged out child their parents were FOOLS!!! This curfew needs to be for the PARENTS who keep raising thugs. These kids want to do better be better!!!! So lets see you set a curfew to make them go home earlier to BAD ROLE MODELS???????? Maybe in the street they actually hung with kids with GREAT PARENTS!!!! I don’t miss B more at all……….

  5. Mac Ben on said:

    …so the measure does not just target black youth like the headline suggests…?; why is this article race-baiting? The measure is a great idea! Kids SHOULD be home at those hours anyway- I know I had to be as a kid!

  6. seriously on said:

    Hell yes! Baltimore is right…These children our predators and dangerous for everyone else and the reason Baltimore had to step in, is because the parents of these children are not and will not parent their children. Why should innocent people become the victims of these kids. These kids and their parents have no empathy or compassion for anyone. These are the trash of Black America, they are so morally bankrupt…no one can help them and they will destroy anyone that tries. Black America should help those stuck there by financial circumstances. Not the trash that surrounds them! Gangs and drug dealers have committed a genocides in our communities. And they have spared no one man, woman, child, elderly, babies etc…So we should not spare them!

  7. Debbie on said:

    I live in Baltimore. I am so pissed that people think it is wrong for young people to be in the house atcertain time. Don’t people want to know where their children are? !4 thru 17 year olds have nothing to do outside late at night. Not sure why so many people are up in the air about this. I have 2 girls, 22 and 30. When they were 14 thru 17 their asses had better been in the house. PERIOD!!! There is something for you to do. Homework, dishes, dust tables, clean bathrooms, wash our clothes(that’s right ours, I provide the washer, dryer, soap powder, bleach, and dryer sheets). I just don’t get it. It ain’t a bad thing. They way the white police are abusing them, and the black people are killing them, I actually think I would want my babies in the house raising them to be self-sufficient adults for society. People don’t want to be bothered with their kids and that is sad. Sad!!!

  8. Tony on said:

    Let’s be clear. This law comes about because parents aren’t willing to parent their child. They’re too interested in being their friend.

  9. The same rules I had growing up. The only difference is they weren’t called curfews and they were enforced by parents not the law.

  10. What alternatives are those who are opposed to the curfew proposing? Until they come up with something more affective I’m all for it. Let’s give it a year and look to see if murder/crime rates drop… time will tell.

  11. IanRousseault on said:

    YES! Absolutely! You have to do whatever it takes to stop the violence in these neighborhoods. Since the people who live in the hood can’t seem to get their heads out of their asses and live like human beings, then the government must take over and impose whatever it wants to! These uneducated animals have no self respect for themselves, their families or their communities! And that’s extremely sad and disturbing!

  12. While I do not agree with the comments from Mr. Valdez, my concern is why are the Parents not stepping up. Why is your 14 year old CHILD hanging out past 10 O’clock period. They should have their collective BUTTS in the house preparing for school, not hanging out with the probability of getting into trouble. Parents please raise your children or the street will!!!

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