Since the 1990s, millions of teenagers have been arrested for breaking curfew, which a policy analysis shows has a disproportionate impact on minorities.
In San Diego, it’s illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to be out past 10pm.
Conceived as a crime-reduction tactic, curfews were promoted during the “tough on crime” era of the 1990s. In 1996, President Bill Clinton flew out to Monrovia, California – among the first cities to claim curfew success – to publicly endorse the idea at the local high school. From there, they spread like wildfire and remain in place decades later.
From Baltimore, which has one of the strictest curfews in the country, to Denver, where curfew enforcement ramps up every summer, the laws are on the books in hundreds of cities across the US. According to available FBI data, there were 2.6m curfew arrests from 1994 and 2012; that’s an average of roughly 139,000 annually. Philadelphia alone reported 16,079 violations in 2014 – among the highest in the country.
This just seems bizarre, and the article points out that it’s only going to become even more common throughout the US.