Youth Curfew Laws In this article about youth curfew laws from the journal, Crime and Delinquency January 2000 issue, they talked about how analysis of the subject provides extremely weak support for the theory that curfews reduce juvenile crime rates. Of the offense and victimization measures, only burglary, larceny, and simple assault arrests significantly decreased after cities adopted curfew statutes. These decreases occurred only for revised laws, and only the reductions in larceny appeared in both the county and city-county samples. Any influence of the curfews appeared only for revised statues, and new laws were not effective in reducing offending or victimization. This raises the possibility that stronger enforcement after the laws were revised is the reason for the results.
On the other hand, analysis using curfew arrests did not find that stronger enforcement produced lower rates of other offenses. Also, a big increase in city-county homicide arrests balanced the three major decreases in the county data. Therefore, the effects of the revised statutes of the curfew laws have no effect on crime at all. The analysis also covered a short period of time.
This short period of time produces further error in estimating the pre-intervention and post-intervention means, further reducing the chances of discovering a nonzero impact. The study estimated only the average outcomes of the curfew laws across the sample. This average impact may hide major variations between the cities in the effects of the laws. The details of where and how the police enforce curfews could influence their effects. Future research that focuses on individual cities and on variations in policy could help resolve questions about the conditions under which curfews are most likely to be successful.
Despite these qualifications, the results do not support the idea that curfews help prevent juvenile crime. Any impact of the laws were small, and they applied only to a few offenses. If curfew statutes do reduce juvenile offending and victimization rates, their influence may not be as large or as general as policy makers have hoped.