Today's council highlight surely was the committee session on the curfew. There was a lot of very intelligent debate on the issue. One of the statistics that struck me as very concerning is the rising trend of juvenile arrests in the county. The number increased from 1,548 in 2006 to 2,626 in 2010. That is truly an explosion --- juvenile arrests were 21% of all arrests in 2010. At 2,626 arrests, that is about 7 a day!
If a curfew gives the police a way to be more preventative with juveniles by sending them home before problems escalate, that could ultimately not only prevent crime but also reduce juvenile arrests and help keep kids out of the justice system. One of the changes to the proposal from the executive that I was glad to see was making it a civil rather than a criminal offense. I want to keep kids out of jails.
My concern continues to be for protecting young people. I want young people to be able to hang out at night and not have to worry that they are going to get stabbed. Yes young people have to give up a little --- though, really, not much, since most can't be out on the streets after 11pm on weeknights or midnight on weekends anyway --- but I think you will get safer places to hang out as a result.
The council policy packet, well worth reviewing, is here.