Thursday, December 15, 2011

Will new Charlotte curfew make a difference?

There's little reason anyone other than youngsters out late would object to Charlotte's new curfew rules, in effect beginning today. The new rules require children 12 and under to be in by 10 p.m. each night if they're not with an adult, with children 13 to 15 getting an hour longer to make it home. Sixteen and 17-year-olds have no curfews, because state laws require them to be tried in adult courts, which would make it difficult for Charlotte to classify them as juveniles.

Those changes are slightly more restrictive than the previous curfew rules, which were first implemented in 1995. Nothing wrong with that.

But we're skeptical the new rules will result in much change in Charlotte, because Charlotte-Mecklenburg police didn't place a great deal of emphasis on enforcing the old rules. Through November, only 72 juveniles were arrested for curfew violations this year in Charlotte, just more than one a week, according to numbers CMPD provided me. Only 10 parents in 2011 were made subject to fines because their children were caught out late. Each of those numbers is up slightly from 2010.

That doesn't mean police aren't doing their job. Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon pushed the revised curfew after a late-night uptown shooting followed uptown's Food Lion Speed Street celebration in May. A subsequent uptown event, the annual July 4 festivities, didn't have similar problems, but the improvement came from a significant police presence that discouraged trouble before it began.

I asked CMPD spokesman Rob Tufano if the low number of curfew citations means that police believe other methods of policing better deal with youth issues. Could it be that arresting juveniles or finding and fining adults isn't the most effective use of police time?

Tufano's telling response: "This stricter ordinance isn't a be all to end all, but rather another tool we have to keep children safe."

Peter St. Onge

10 comments:

Wiley Coyote said...

The Observer needs to hire someone that knows how to connect an icon or text to the story you want readers to visit.

This "O-pinion" segment is constantly wrong.

Right now, the headline on the main page is about the new curfew, but if you click the story line or the icon, it takes you to the Gingrich story.

This happens all the time.

By the way, the new curfew ordinance will make as much difference as hands-free laws will make.

California is a perfect example of an idea that doesn't work.

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Thanks, Wiley. I'll check out the linkage problem.

Peter

arejaye said...

If the kids didn't pay attention to the old curfew rules, what makes the dingdongs who came up with the new rules think they'll get better results? Nothing's gonna change except it's gonna be more aggravation.

DistrictSix said...

It will serve the same as a set of keys.

Those who are honest, will not try to open your house, or car, without you giving them a set of keys.

The others will say, who needs keys if they need, or want, it.

Tom said...

The kids out breakin' curfew are gang-affiliated. Charlotte's got to get a handle on gangs first.

Tom said...

The kids out breakin' curfew are gang-affiliated. Charlotte's got to get a handle on gangs first.

Garth Vader said...

The police state marches on, acclimating our young to more and more incremental fascism.

DistrictSix said...

@garthvader: Since the main point of fascism is to promote one race over the others, maybe you tell us how keeping underage children from wandering the streets like pack animals, fits your description.

blackspeak said...

No curfew will make a difference unless the violators and their parents are sanctioned very heavily.

Veronica said...

The Observer just can't let go of trying to tie the shooting in Uptown to Speed Street.

The shooting had nothing to do with Speed Street. The two events just happened to be in uptown but anyone who knows anything about uptown or those two events knows that the two could not be further apart.

The shooting involved out of control black youth which the Observer does not want to report for fear of offending that community.