The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint-Daytime curfew law wrong, misguided

By Gary Collins/reporter

Once again, our elected officials have created well-intentioned but half-baked policies.

Recently, the cities of Dallas and Bedford decided their cities needed to enact a daytime curfew for the under-16 crowd.

Dallas, for example, would allow the police to pick up people between the ages of 10 and 16 if they were out in public between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Dallas city officials defended the idea, saying it would help reduce crime.

City councilman Dwaine Caraway told KTVT that teen crime needs to be addressed “with burglaries up in our neighborhoods, with kids out of school roaming our streets, tying up our Dallas police time while their parents are not stepping up to the plate.”

Many cities already have a nighttime curfew for those under 18, who must be off the streets before midnight.

Enacting a daytime curfew will only add to the responsibilities of local police departments to do the jobs of parents.

A curfew will also place on the police the job of determining who should and shouldn’t be out.

What criteria would the cities use to determine this?

Will they have to stop anyone who appears to be a teenager and check ID?

Maybe teens should start carrying papers similar to occupied Europe?

Will the cities have to place guards on street corners to check?

The policy has good intentions but is severely misguided. The policy ignores the people who are out for legitimate reasons.

There are other situations to consider.

What about the college freshmen who might still look and act like high school students but work in the morning before going to evening classes?

If they are out between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., will they be stopped, asked what school they attend and to provide proof?

What about home-schooled students?

What about the adult fortunate enough to look younger?

Or visitors to the DFW area?

Yes, the city has a right to prevent crime, but creating more laws means more laws can and will be broken.

The curfew will succeed only in criminalizing teens, and being stopped on a daily basis will only create further animosity toward police.

If the Dallas and Bedford city councils want to stop daytime crime, they need to engage parents and get them involved with their children.

The city council should not take over the role of parent. That will only open another can of worms regarding how children are raised.

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