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How Effective are Curfews?
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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In this episode:

Today, on Where We Live, we'll examine curfew policies in Connecticut and elsewhere


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51:59 minutes (24.95 MB)
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Andrew Schneider, Executive Director of the Connecticut ACLUAndrew Schneider, Executive Director of the Connecticut ACLULast Thursday night, Hartford city officials imposed a 9 o'clock curfew for children under the age of 18. It's in reaction to yet another wave of violence.

In one weekend, 11 shootings and one man dead with residents of Hartford wondering once again why they can't escape from summertime violence. So, in a move that's drawn national attention, Hartford is under curfew, with police patrolling for young people out after dark. The move has been criticized by civil liberties groups, which call such curfews unconstitutional. But are they an effective tool for a community that has run out of options?

Today, on Where We Live, we'll examine curfew policies in Connecticut and elsewhere, in Columbus Ohio, where the city partners with the YMCA, and in Helena Akansas, where a 24-hour curfew is enforced by a heavily armed police presence.

We'd like you to join the conversation: Does a curfew work as a public safety tool? Is public safety ever more important than civil liberties?

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Apart from any serious political threat or looming war, curfews lean toward fascism.

The community should invest in downtown and bring business there. Curfews shun this. The police obviously are not doing their job and the curfew is just an easy way out.

The city is moving in the wrong direction. It needs to move ahead with the times and remove this curfew.

Thank you
Victor Spinelli

i think that the curfew will

i think that the curfew will not be effective because it is short term. if it were to be implemented for a longer period then we would be able to see if it will actually work. one solution is to give these kids something to do. when yo! hartford was around it keep the kids in check because if you didn't do what you are supposed to do you weren't allowed to participate in fun activities, and if you did something good you got positive reinforcements. the best and only real solution is for parents to step up and start being parents. stop ripping and running the streets, smoking and drinking because kids will copy what you do. lead by example and show your kids the right way to act. also people are too concerned with being "hood and gangsta" and "keeping it real" so they would rather do something they know they don't have any business doing than to do something that they know is right. we as a community need to change our mentality starting in the home before we are able to see a change in the community as a whole.

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The gentleman from the aclu is quite short-sighted. The aclu does not condemn parents who give their children curfews. Apart from the rightful role of the parent, children get the message that the parent cares about them. If the police handle the kids kindly, the kids get the same message. No, this is no cure, but it is a tiny step in the fundamentally psychological battle for the hearts and minds of our young people.

Dr. Jeff (clinical and developmental psychologist)

Stratford, CT

teen curfews

I think that you are wrong because why should we have a curfew and you dont have to have a curfew because when you were a teen you didnt have a curfew so how is that fair to us (teens) and not you. All im trying to say is that you are wrong on teen curfews and how they should be laid out. And also why should kids with good grades also have curfews. We are actuctally learning here compared to the kids that dont learn and copy off of other kids.

Thank You for your time in reading this letter.

                                            Sincearly, Jacob Ortiz

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I was listening to your program on the Hartford curfew during my commute this morning. At the outset you asked if public safety should outweigh civil liberties. It struck me that such a policy is already firmly in place with regards to quarantines. If an epidemic threatens to breakout, extraordinary measures to protect the public, and which severely restrict the liberties of many, get put in place. Who is willing to say we don’t already have a raging epidemic of violence going on? Extraordinary measures are indeed called for.

While I normally applaud the ACLU, in this case I think they are missing the point. The only point against the curfew your ACLU guest Andrew Schneider seems to keep making is that studies show curfews are ineffective at stopping crime. As the Chief of Police mentioned, the curfew was put in place, not to curb petty crime, but as an emergency order to protect citizens, specifically youth, from violent crime, drive-by shootings, stray bullets, etc. As echoed by the official from Ohio, their curfew was also an attempt, not to keep the criminals at home, but to keep the victims out of the killing fields.

Mr. Schneider commented that he knows of no studies that support curfews being effective. Is that because any such studies show they aren’t, or because such studies haven’t been done? How many studies have been done to determine the effects of curfews, not on petty crime, but on violent crime? How many studies have been done to determine the effectiveness of curfews, not to prevent crimes those restricted might commit, but to prevent those restricted from becoming victims?

As the Chief pointed out, the curfew is only a short term measure, with its own risks (further degrading the relationship between those restricted and the Police), and a long term solution is needed. The Chief stated that long term measure needs to be with the cooperation of the Police, parents, schools, social services, and the youth themselves (and the media). Who is going to step up and lead that effort?

Can we please stop arguing over the viability of the chosen short term solution, and somebody start actually working on the long term solution?

Russell Oppenheimer