OPD thinks so. At 5:30 p.m. tonight, the City of Oakland’s Public Safety Committee hears a proposal to keep kids under 18 off the streets between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. on school nights, and between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on weekends.
You can read a detailed report in support of the “Youth Protection Curfew” here.
Some community organizations plan to protest the proposal, saying it “criminalizes youth, parents and businesses.” The following release is circulating from a group called Critical Resistance:
Community Groups Oppose Youth Curfew for Oakland
Ordinance to be heard tonight criminalizes youth, parents and businesses
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 2/10/09 CONTACT: Critical Resistance,
510-444-0484; cell 510.435.6809
WHAT: Public Safety Hearing on Youth Curfew for Oakland.
WHEN: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 5:30pm
WHERE: Oakland City Hall, Hearing Room 1
WHO: Critical Resistance, Oakland Community members
OAKLAND, CA — Oakland community groups, residents and youth will join forces to oppose a youth curfew for Oakland. The proposal, which comes on the heels of mass arrests during the protests of the execution of Oscar Grant, is set to be discussed at the City Public Safety Committee tonight.
“A curfew means that more youth will be locked up. What does it say about our community that we would criminalize a young person simply for being out after 10pm?” asks Rose Braz of Critical Resistance, an Oakland based community group that works for true public safety in Oakland, not more policing and imprisonment.
“We need jobs, housing and quality education, not a curfew,” said Randy Garcia-Dancy, 19 years old of Critical Resistance. “Policies like the curfew that scapegoat youth only compound the challenges young people face.”
The proposed ordinance by City Council member Larry Reid would prohibit “the presence of all youth under 18 years of age on City streets between the hours of 10:00pm and 5:00am (Sunday through Thursday) and 11:00pm to 5:00am on Friday and Saturday.”
The ordinance would also make it a misdemeanor for a parent to allow a young person to violate the ordinance. Moreover, “owners and operators of entertainment establishments open to the public can also be charged” if they knowingly allow youth on their premises during curfew hours.
“Study after study concludes that curfews do not reduce crime,” continues Braz. In 2003, the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science published the results of a systematic review of juvenile curfews nationwide and concluded “the evidence does not support the argument that curfews prevent crime and victimization.”
In 1999, the Western Criminological Review also mounted an exhaustive review of existing curfews, finding that “There is no support for the hypothesis that jurisdictions with curfews experience lower crime levels.”
“After what happened to Oscar Grant and many other youth killed by the police, how could we consider giving police yet another opportunity for racial profiling. Who will Oakland police stop at 10 p.m.? What neighborhoods will see a lockdown from 10 p.m. to 5 a. m.?,” says Ritika Aggarwal, 24, organizing with Critical Resistance. “The 1865 Black Codes permitted the imprisonment of ex-slaves traveling after 10 p.m. without a note from their employer.”
Economically, a curfew isn’t feasible, either. “Oakland can’t find money to keep its schools open; Alameda County is scrambling for money for re-entry services. Does spending approximately $75,000 to enforce the ordinance plus thousands to lock up a young person for being out past 10 p.m. make sense?” says Molly Porzig, 22, of Critical Resistance. “We know what builds safe communities. We need more opportunities for young people not a curfew.”
What effect do you think these restrictions would have on public safety, on business and on teenagers?