Jun 13, 2022 - News

Early curfews may return for minors in Philly

Illustration of brownstone buildings under a night sky lit with a spotlight depicting a clock
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Schools are out this week, and soon the kids will be too.

  • But Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson wants to limit that by changing the citywide curfew for minors from midnight to 10pm.

The big picture: Gilmore Richardson introduced the bill Thursday, less than a week after the South Street shooting that left three dead and 11 injured.

Flashback: Gilmore Richardson pushed for a curfew extension from 10:30pm to midnight for minors 16 and older for summer weekend nights last year.

  • She told Axios that was put in place to help with minors who were approved to work until 11pm. With this new proposal, workers will be exempt.

Of note: Former Mayor Michael Nutter took a similar approach in response to a wave of flash-mob beatings in 2011, when he instituted a 9pm curfew for unaccompanied minors in Center City and University City.

Between the lines: Research from the Campbell Collaboration, based on 12 studies on juvenile curfews, suggests that curfews don't work for reducing crime.

  • The 2016 report actually found that curfews result in a slight increase in offences during curfew hours and overall have no effect on crime during all hours.
  • When a curfew for minors was moved up from midnight to 11pm in Washington, D.C., gun violence went up, according to a 2015 study.

What they're saying: Instilling curfews has been an "alarmist" legislative practice since the 1990s, but it hasn't proven effective, according to the Marshall Project.

  • Gilmore Richardson told Axios this proposal is different because any minors who violate the curfew would be brought to community resource centers that will provide conflict resolution and job training.
  • "We want to ensure young people are safe and are in safe spaces," Gilmore Richardson said. Police bringing children home is also an option.

But, Mayor Jim Kenney didn't support changing the curfew for 16- and 17-year-olds to an earlier time.

  • "Taking police off the street to do that kind of work is not, I don't think, appropriate at this time," Kenney said about enforcing curfews during a Thursday press conference.

Juwan Bennett, a criminology expert with the University of Cincinnati, told Axios the policy isn't "evidence-based."

  • "For policy-makers, we have to stop being lazy with how we're dealing with gun violence. This curfew is low-hanging fruit."
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