Juvenile curfews are legal restrictions that prohibit youth under a certain age (usually 16, 17, or 18) from being in public places without adult supervision during certain hours, usually at night (e.g., between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.). Curfew restrictions regarding youth ages, hours, exempted activities, and penalties for violations vary by locality. Many states allow local governments to enact curfew laws or ordinances.
Evidence of Effectiveness
There is strong evidence that juvenile curfews do not affect youth crime and victimization rates during curfew hours1, 2. A Washington, DC-based evaluation indicated that changing curfew hours from midnight to 11 pm increased gunfire incidents between 11 pm and midnight3.
Available evidence suggests juvenile curfews may reduce youth motor vehicle fatalities and arrest rates; additional research is needed to determine effects on fatalities and arrests4.
Impact on Disparities
Hawaii is the only state with a statewide juvenile curfew. Hawaii’s curfew restricts children under the age of 16 from being in public places between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.5.
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1 Campbell-Wilson 2016 - Wilson DB, Gill C, Olaghere A, McClure D. Juvenile curfew effects on criminal behavior and victimization: A systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews. 2016:3.
2 Adams 2003 - Adams K. The effectiveness of juvenile curfews at crime prevention. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 2003;587(1):136–159.
3 Carr 2015 - Carr JB, Doleac JL. Keep the kids inside? Juvenile curfews and urban gun violence. 2015.
4 Grossman 2015 - Grossman ER, Miller NA. A systematic review of the impact of juvenile curfew laws on public health and justice outcomes. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2015;49(6):945–951.
5 Hawaii-Curfew - Hawaii State Judiciary. Juvenile curfew hours.
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