Daytime Curfew Laws Criminalize Youth, Don’t Fight The Crime They Say They Will

By Julianne Hing Apr 07, 2010

The city council of Richmond, California, unanimously passed a daytime curfew law yesterday in an effort to curb truancy and crime that’s being associated with teens. The ordinance makes it illegal for any young person to be out in public 30 minutes after their school day starts and 30 minutes before their school day ends. The ordinance, which was introduced by Chris Magnus, Richmond’s Chief of Police, gives any city police officer the right to arrest a young person who’s found on the street during school hours. Magnus, citing similar programs in nearby Sacramento, California, claimed that daytime curfews and anti-truancy laws there led to a 39 percent drop in crime in neighborhoods around schools. The bill allows any minor who’s found violating the new law to be detained, brought home or to a parent’s workplace, "at the sole discretion of the arresting officer," according to the notes from the city council’s March, 23, 2010 meeting. And if a young person is caught more than three times in one school year, his or her parent can be taken to court, and charged with a misdemeanor. Magnus stressed that a large percentage of daytime crimes were committed by young people, adding that 20 percent of the city’s homicide victims were minors.