- Baltimore teens are under a curfew this summer in an effort to curb gun violence.
- The policy hopes to prevent teens from “becoming the victims or perpetrators of violent crime.”
- The police department received a memorandum that it would not be enforcing much of the curfew, WJZ News said.
Baltimore teens are under a curfew this summer as a part of the city’s plan to tackle gun violence.
The curfew began Friday, ahead of Memorial Day Weekend, and will last until September 3, 2023, just days before Labor Day. According to the mayor’s office, the curfew applies to youth ages 16 and under, but the policy’s timing varies based on age group.
Ages 13 and under have a 9 p.m. curfew, while teens from 14-16 have an 11 p.m. curfew on weekends and holidays, according to the city’s plan.
Baltimore called the plan “a comprehensive summer engagement strategy” to ensure young people “have a safe and engaging summer.” Summer programming and events will be coordinated around the curfews, the city added.
Last month, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott expanded the curfew’s dates after several incidents of violence involving young people, including a shooting over Easter weekend, Baltimore Fishbowl reported.
If children are found out after hours, they will be encouraged to go home or call their parent or guardian before being brought to one of the city’s two Youth Connection Centers by non-law enforcement, the city’s plan said. Parents face fines of up to $500.
The policy does not apply to teens who are either accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, exercising First Amendment rights, driving in a motor vehicle, involved in an emergency, or working a job or event, the city said.
According to a police memorandum obtained by WJZ News, officers were advised that they would not be involved in implementing much of the curfew. “Enforcement of a juvenile curfew is necessary to safeguard and protect our City’s youth; however, the enforcement of the curfew is not intended to lead to an unnecessary increase in interactions between BPD and the City’s young people,” the documents said.
“That is why a majority of interactions — including transportation to Youth Connection Centers — will be handled by non-BPD City employees or third-party entities. This objective is consistent with the Consent Decree’s goal of reducing youth involvement with the juvenile and criminal justice system.”
Police were also told that they would not stop teens or take them into custody solely for a curfew violation, the documents added.
Baltimore began implementing a strict juvenile curfew in 2014, according to WJZ News. A 2016 policy update from the Baltimore Police Department said the goal of the curfew was “to ensure our children are given the proper resources to prevent them from becoming the victims or perpetrators of violent crime.” This policy will be “updated and amended to address best practices and other issues that have arisen” in recent years.