Opposition to Curfew at Montgomery County Public Hearing

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    NEWSLETTERS

    flickr.com/dan-lem2001/

    At the first public hearing about a curfew for minors, there was a lot of opposition to the proposal drafted by Montgomery County, Md., Executive Isiah Leggett.

    Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger backs the idea, and told the council that a youth curfew would keep kids from committing crimes or being victimized.

    "We need a law that strikes the right balance between giving law enforcement a tool to deal with some of these situations and protecting good kids who want to engage in healthy activities," he said.

    The proposed curfew would be midnight on weekends and 11 p.m. on weeknights with exceptions for school-, work- and faith-based activities.

    Opposition to the curfew is growing. A Facebook posting called Stand up to the MoCo Youth Curfew has gotten 6,394 signatures in the past week.

    "In my experience there have been no statistics that have shown this bill or any other bills in Prince George's County, the District, California, even  Baltimore City, none of these have shown to create a better influence on students to reduce crime even the victimization of crime," said John Mannes, of the National Youth Association.

    The problem is that teens from the District and Prince George's County, where there are curfews in place, go to Montgomery County. Earlier this summer, that resulted in a gang fight and stabbing in Silver Spring.

    "And when the police talked to gang members, they said specifically they came here because they couldn't do this in D.C. or Prince George's County,” Montgomery County Council member Marc Elrich said.

    Some say the proposal is flawed.

    "Well I'm very skeptical of the proposal because the executive has not made a good case for it at this point,” Council member Phil Andrews said. “I'm skeptical of the need for a curfew and I'm skeptical about the effectiveness of these curfews."

    The earliest the curfew could be voted on is this fall.