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Curfews to Stop Crime

Answer to Crime? Keep People Off the Streets With Curfews?

It's just like being a teenager, except your parents are the police! And instead of grounding, they can put you in jail! Curfews are popping up in tons of places, aimed at controlling crime. With goals similar to the police checkpoints in Washington DC, the newest towns getting an early bedtime: Helena, Arkansas and Hartford, Connecticut.

Sparked by violence, Helena, AR has implemented a 24-hour curfew in a troubled neighborhood, questioning all passers by. The city council voted unanimously to allow police to expand the program to any area of the city, despite ACLU claims that the police action is unconstitutional. The patrols have resulted in 32 arrests since they locked down the 10-block radius. The council acknowledges the hardship of the curfew but says those living in the city want the random and drug-fueled shootings to stop, regardless of what it takes.

To see what's happening in Hartford, and whether it actually works,


Hartford, CT has a youth curfew scheduled to begin today, aimed at stopping gang violence. For one month, all juveniles have to be in by 9 p.m. After a parade Saturday left one dead, a 7-year-old shot in the head, and a 15-month-old shot in the leg, Hartford's mayor says, "we must do this because we cannot and will not tolerate innocent people, especially children, to be victims." The ACLU says the curfew blatantly violates the civil rights of minors.

With similar youth rules in Rochester, NY, and the rule's efficacy being questioned in Philadelphia, PA, (more crime happens right after school) is a curfew a good way to combat crime — or a crime against civil rights?


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