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Should Local Governments Impose Juvenile Curfews?

Several cities have juvenile curfews in place, such as one recently passed by the city of Lilburn. Do you support such a curfew or is this the responsibility of parents, not the government?

The city of Lilburn recently updated its ordinances to impose a juvenile curfew. Officials said the intent of the ordinance is to reduce the number of crimes committed by and against minors in the late night/early morning hours.

The hours of the curfew are Sunday - Thursday 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. and Friday and Saturdays from 11:59 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. The Lilburn mayor said the primary intent was for the protection of the juveniles. It gives members of law enforcement a reason to be able to stop and question juveniles who are out beyond the curfew hours.

These curfews are usually imposed on teens and youths under the age of 18 - age 17 or younger and are imposed by municipal authorities as a way to cut down on juvenile crime. Several local municipalities, including Gwinnett County, already have similar curfews in place. Georgia law has a midnight to 5 a.m. curfew for juveniles.

Do you think keeping juveniles off the streets during these hours is the responsibility of the government or should it be the responsibility of the parents?

Dwayne July 15, 2012 at 06:09 PM
I'd support legislation on more lighting before a cerfew. The cop did not say "nothing good happens after midnight." I think people do feel that the darkness helps conceal their dark deeds, so why not get more light? To suggest one doesn't have a right to be outside with parental consent after a certain time is almost ridiculous.
Dwayne July 15, 2012 at 06:24 PM
But the rights that are affected in the name of 'possible prevention' is not entirely justified. Putting children on something similar to mandatory intense probation is just undermining parental authority and sending the wrong message. Do you really want your public servants used to saying, "I don't care what your mother said you could do."? It's not in itself to be a crime to simply be outside with parental consent after midnight. Who wants to call it a crime for a parent to make a call that is well within his/her jurisdiction? Perhaps if we focus more on supporting and helping the family unit, instead of stripping them of jurisdiction, it might more help the problem. Playing interference and making 'Big Brother' be more like 'Big Daddy' does not have my vote. This idea might (maybe) decrease juvenile crime, not get rid of it, but will also reduce quality of life and hand over more parental authority to others on a silver platter.
Tammy Osier July 15, 2012 at 11:43 PM
The experience you all have is with kids from supervised homes. I've worked with at-risk kids for over 20 years, including dealing with their parents, and I still have no problem with a curfew. Dwayne, reducing is about all you can do, on that I agree. But for many of the funerals of teens (gang related) that I've been to, every one but one, happened during hours that kids have no business being out. Say yours or my nice, well behaved child is on a date, and of course, will come home after a late movie. What happens when they get caught in the crosshairs of a gang fight? I'm all for DECREASING the possibility. You say, how can you call what is a parents call a crime? You don't understand...these kids are unruly and parents have no control over them (the ones I'm talking about). Part of my job is supporting the family unit, but you have no idea how hard that is. Some don't want your help. I promise you. Some do, and for them, it's a great thing. But my experience is just the opposite. I guess I've just had way too much experience with this. And, btw...how do you know that a cop didn't say that? I heard it with my own ears. It was his opinion in his particular experience. So, I'm trying to understand how quality of life means a CHILD being out in the middle of the night unsupervised? Not getting that. :) Answer the question - we've always had curfews so why is now suddenly "big brother " to enact one for the safety of citizens?
Tammy Osier July 15, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Sharon- I totally agree with you. For those of us who had a house full of teens, it was so nice to have an out. The curfew made me feel that my children would be safer. I always told my kids that people, when out drinking, usually do so at parties, sometime going from party to party, putting innocent people at risk on the roads. Ask any cop how many drunk driving arrests are in broad daylight. Again, drinking and things of that nature usually take place in late hours. This has nothing to do with undermining a parents rights, in my opinion. It is a public safety issue. Most of the gangs I dealt with are onthe south side, and if they are being proactive, I take my hat off to the Lilburn PD. That's one area where I'd love to be put out of business (juvenile crime).
Racer X July 16, 2012 at 11:25 AM
When I was in high school many of my buddies got caught drinking, got in fights, stole things and some even died. Almost without exception, it all happened after midnight. After midnight is when cocaine comes out to play along with an over 50% ratio of kids up to other shenanigans. Frankly, nobody has any business being out after midnight. I am all for a curfew for kids. It is what kept me out of the trouble that everyone else around me got into. In an ideal world it should be the parents who enforce curfews but in reality there are too many parents who don't pay attention, Also, there are the parents who are too trusting, "My little Johnny who never do anything wrong. Oh you want to sleep over at Billy's house (While Billy is telling his parents he is sleeping over at Johnny's house)? OK, go ahead, have fun Sweetie. I am sure you will stay there and not go roaming around drinking and smashing mailboxes." My question to Dwayne is, what in the heck is there for a juvenile to do after midnight that they can't do before midnight? Keep in mind, we are talking about kids under 18.
Tammy Osier July 16, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Mike, couldn't agree more. You and me are good parents, and so are all who responded here. Problem is, there aren't enough of us going around. There's a lot of kids out there who have little or no guidance. You and I can't be their keeper at all times, and if parents are remiss in their duties, then unfortunately, it falls to the justice system. Someone said we need to do more to help families. Agreed. This is my line of work and as hard as you try, you can't make people come to parenting classes unless mandated by the court, and even then, many of the issues they have run deep and a few classes won't fix it. Many poor don't have transportation to get the help they need. People can volunteer their time to the many ministries and government run entities that are available and one on one try to help families in need. That's the only way to be our brother's keeper. But to be remiss in protecting the public in the mean time for a talking point on government control is being remiss indeed. I'm all for getting government out of our lives, but this is a public safety issue pure and simple.
Racer X July 16, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Thanks Tammy. People need to remember that they are legally responsible for their child's actions and can be sued if their child screws up. Parents risk loosing everything they have. A curfew law gives them an out. They are no longer being "uncool parents" when there is a law in place, they are only following the law. I believe they should take it a step further and have repercussion for a juvenile's violation including community service for he/she AND their legal guardians if they get caught, say, three times for breaking curfew. You could not fine the parents because that would only hurt the poor. Wealthy parents would just stroke a check. Parents need to be held more accountable and I believe this is the root of many of the problems in our country today, especially in the area of education.
Grant July 16, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Interesting to see the "smaller less intrusive government hard core conservatives" supporting yet another Nazi-esque invasive attack on personal freedom.. Papers please ? When I was 16-17 I often worked jobs that would have me going IN or coming home during these hours, especially in the summer time
Gail Lane July 16, 2012 at 02:59 PM
The ordinances make allowances for these kinds of things. I believe that there has been a similar ordinance in place in DeKalb since I was a teenager. This kind of ordinance gives the police the right to stop and ask teens where they have been and where they are going if they are out and about after the curfew hours. And geesh ... at that age, I was more afraid of my parents' wrath than that of the local authorities. I'm good with this one, and would be more angry with my kids should they be brought home by the police rather than the police for bringing them home.
Tammy Osier July 16, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Gail, and that is what I'm trying to get across. You and I were afraid of our parents and any authority that caught us doing what we weren't supposed to do. Kids that are vandals, out committing crimes, selling drugs to weaker kids etc...not only don't fear Mom and Pop, but they don't fear the law either. Many of the ones I know see RYDC as a home away from home. They come from bad homes so have no leverage when it comes to pressure from peers and would actually rather be in jail than at home. As long as they are juveniles, the system treats them in a fashion to rehabilitate them rather than punishment. It's just the way the system is set up for those considered children. That's why I loved the juvenile boot camp where I worked. At least those parents knew where their kids were for 4 hours a night. We did what we could during that time to teach them the realities of a life of crime and incorporate life skills to hopefully give them coping skills when they leave. Many successes, but...some that will, unfortunately, continue to be a product of their environment unless good people can intervene during the daylight hours.
Tammy Osier July 16, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Grant, when it comes to smoking or whether you can buy beer on sunday, I have to agree with you on smaller government. You yourself haveto admit that government has a role to play. yes or no. If yes, then laws and enforcing laws for your safety is just not considered big government to me. ON THE OTHER HAND...when they come into your house and try to tell you how to raise your kids? That is the difference. Out on the street, unsupervised, puts it into a whole different persepective. Parental responsibility has been abdicated once a kid who is their responsibility goes out and commits a crime.
Grant July 16, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Tammy ... You'll never convince me that banning something or removing rights from individuals points us toward "freedom" . Nor will you make me believe police hassling otherwise innocent people for being outside or in their cars is a good idea.
Get Scuffed Up Fitness July 16, 2012 at 08:06 PM
YES, YES, YES, YES!!!!! As a Retired Military Member and currently an Army Instructor for South Gwinnett HS JROTC, I strongly believe in Curfews and any other restrictions set up to protect us and teenagers. If there was no Speed Limit sign everyone would just drive whatever speed they wanted and most likely cause a lot of accidents. Freedom is not free and somebody has to make those sacrifices. Thank you local police agencies.
Jordan July 23, 2012 at 06:09 PM
I have to be at school at 6am everyday, and I drive there. I live 20-30 minutes from my school. Personally, I do not think that an 11pm curfew will change anything. All it will do, is make teenagers hide and do things in more hidden areas when its dark. Also, isnt this kind of taking away freedom? Isn't this supposed to America where we supposedly have 'freedom'? All the freedom is being taken away little by little. Sooner rather than later, we are going to be a dictatorship. This isn't a democracy anymore. If you dont want teens driving or out walking at night 'doing illegal things', then what's going to happen next? Checking door-to-door at night to see if they're doing drugs at home, having sex, or beating people up? Will no one have any privacy anymore? We already have full body scans at airports. We are having freedom taken away everyday.
David July 23, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Jordan, I respect what you have to say, but since this is 'MERICA!, I plan to speak my mind freely over the internet, as you did, because I have the FREEDOM to. You made no sense what-so-ever. The point is not taking away your freedom, which you technically don't have yet. (considering you still live at home under your parents roof and abide by their rules) This rule is to stop teenagers that love to play ding-dong-ditch on elderly peoples houses, to help stop drug traffic (considering that more than half of it is done by kids under the age of 18). And to be completely honest, when kids walk around at night, they're more likely to participate in illegal activities than in the middle of the day. I like you have to be at school. But in the City of Lilburn, and the schools around it, no school starts at 6 am in the morning. And I'm pretty sure the Police and Citizens are more concerned about the kids out and about more around the 1am-4am time area. 12am-5am is just a precaution in action. And its obvious that you don't understand the USA, because if you did, then you would realize that its not a democracy, it is a republic (where the right overrules the majority). Learn some history and something around government and then get back to me. It is a free country, and it always will be. I dont agree with the government all the time, but its for the best. If it werent for laws, i could bust in to ur house naked and eat cheetoes on your couch. -sincerly, an 18 year old
Gail Lane July 23, 2012 at 07:05 PM
I understand this ordinance will put Lilburn's curfew in alignment with the Gwinnett County's and one that is outlined specifically in Georgia's State code. O.C.G.A. 15-11-2 (2010). The curfew is already there statewide, this just makes it enforceable within the city limits. Among the definitions of an "unruly child" is this: "[a child who] Wanders or loiters about the streets of any city, or in or about any highway or any public place, between the hours of 12:00 Midnight and 5:00 A.M." Lilburn's "weekday" curfew begins at 11:00 p.m.; "weekends" begin at midnight.
Jordan July 23, 2012 at 07:20 PM
David. I go in early because I have things in the club that I'm in that starts at 6. If they're more concerned about the 1am-4am area, then why change the curfew to 11? Whats so wrong with keeping it at 12? We're a Democratic- Republic. We vote our representatives in to do the overall vote. Teens will still do the crimes, because then if/when they get away with it, they'll have a more sense of achievment because they didnt get caught. People will just see what they did the next morning. the graffiti crimes were reported, not caught. They werent caught the first time, so what makes them think theyll get caught the second, or third? And I'm sure it doesnt have to be after 11 or 12 to play ding dong ditch. You can just play it when it gets dark. Most elderly people I know go to bed between 8:30 and 9:30. So there's still 1 1/2 hours to play.
Dave Ballard July 23, 2012 at 07:27 PM
The fact is, until you're 18, you do not (and should not!) have the same right to freedom of movement and association as an adult can (and should!) expect. "Children" do not have the right to be wherever they want to be, whenever they want to be there. If they did, they'd also be allowed to vote, drink alcohol, have sex, smoke cigarettes, drive cars, etc., and for exactly the same reason: consent and participation in those activities assumes the ability to make rational, educated decisions regarding those activities, and "children" (as a rule) are not yet capable of such. If we want to renegotiate where the dividing line(s) between "child" and "adult" should be, that's fine, but it's a separate discussion altogether.
Jordan July 23, 2012 at 07:33 PM
When did I ever say I wasnt 18? I am 18. I'll be 19 next month. However, I'm just saying that teens are still going to do the same things they always did, just more hidden, so no one can see them. 15, 16, and 17 year olds can drive cars.
Dave Ballard July 23, 2012 at 07:38 PM
->This country has never in its history been a democracy. ->Most teens (those under 18)are legally "children," and as such do not have the same expectation of rights as an adult. I doubt that would change even if the current government were completely replaced by democracy OR dictatorship. ->I don't want my minor children out driving or walking at night doing illegal things, but that's completely separate from what my adult children have the freedom to decide for themselves. ->Your criticism of the invasion of privacy in airports and the erosion of personal freedoms is well taken, but I believe it to be a completely separate issue.
David July 23, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Ok, now you're starting to make a little more sense, but do you suggest we completely abolish all curfew laws and allow kids to roam the streets at night unsupervised with minimal public supervision? 83% of crimes are committed at night. 70% during the hours of 12am-4am. And I'll tell you why, too!!! Because the public isn't around to witness it! there is little public supervision. People watch for people. Have you ever heard of someone calling the cops on another person? yea, well what happens when no one else is around? nothing. Kids would be 5x's more likely to get away with these things if there was no laws restricting curfew. and you say "what makes them think they will get caught the second or third time?" I'll tell you, they will be more likely to do it a second or third time, but the probably of them getting caught is 2x-3x's higher. Get them arrested, give them their punishment, and have them learn their lesson. if we let them walk around aimlessly, then we would not be allowed to be suspicious. they will be 10x's more likely to get away with it. see them out at night, take em home, crime prevented. I'm sure if u were just on your way to school, the police would leave you alone. if you were walking around at 2 am in the morning, id be kinda worried myself about what you were going to get into. Its for the safety and comfort of the tax payers, which you are not. -sincerly, coming over with cheetoes
David July 23, 2012 at 07:44 PM
then why are you arguing?
Dave Ballard July 23, 2012 at 07:44 PM
If you are the age you say you are, then the law means nothing to you; what's the issue? The age driving is different than the age for consensual sex is different from the age for drinking is different from the age for voting.... you get the idea. The principle is still the same: below a certain age, you don't have the capacity (as a rule) to make a good decision regard that activity. Think the age should be different? Fine, let's talk. But CHILDREN do not get to make their own decisions.
Jordan July 23, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I know. I'm just saying, I don't think that it is fair. Taking away what little 'rights; that they have. I mean, it may be only one hour, but I know I used that hour all the time. My parents always said be home by curfew so I was. Because I knew I'd get in trouble with them if I wasn't. Because of the offchance I'd get caught after 12. But I think that everyone should have the same rights that their parents had at that age . I don't like the fact that the generation now are doing what theyre doing, but changing the curfew isnt going to help. They'll just sneek around more.
Jordan July 23, 2012 at 08:07 PM
and im not saying change the age, im saying why not just keep the time at 12-5. not 11-6
David July 23, 2012 at 08:08 PM
what is there to do for anyone under 18 after 11 anyways? i mean seriously.
Jordan July 23, 2012 at 08:12 PM
in lilburn? Stone Mountain. Late Birthday Party, it ended late. Date.
Dave Ballard July 23, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Jordan, the bottom line is that that's the time Lilburn decided, by way of their local politicians, by way of their local elections. This is why local elections are so important. I think it's totally appropriate that the local government decided on a curfew time for its children, and if upon further review the community decides later to change it, that's their prerogative also. It's also OUR prerogative, as citizens of a community, to complain loud and long (as you have ^_^) and to do our best to get things like this changed if we feel they are mistaken. So by all means: stay involved!
David July 23, 2012 at 08:40 PM
stone mountain isnt in lilburn. and if u leave the birthday party and go straight home, they arent going to harass you, unless if ur drunk or high
Jordan July 23, 2012 at 10:10 PM
i live in lilburn and i go to stone mountain all the time for the laser show. it was the first thing i thought of. Apperently, all they have to do is see a teen driving and they can pull them over.

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