New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas says his city’s curfew policies are put in place because children “are less likely to get hurt or hurt someone else” if they are at home during the nighttime. But youth advocates are arguing curfew enforcement disproportionately targets poor, African-American youth.
Serpas denies his officers engage in profiling youths when they enforce curfew laws but data analyzed by The Times-Picayune found that in 2011, 93 percent of youths detained at the city’s curfew center were black.
A 2000 study of New Orleans’ curfew law concluded that it did not deter crime. The Times-Picayune summarizes the report:
[The study called] “Do Juvenile Curfew Laws Work? A Time-Series Analysis of the New Orleans Law” found that the city’s ordinance was ineffective because it didn’t cover older adolescents and young adults, who often perpetrate crime; and it excluded what are called the “afterschool hours,” when minors are most likely to commit offenses.