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Verify: Do juvenile curfews help reduce crime?

With a debate on whether or not youth curfews help to reduce crime, WUSA9 works to verify.

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced a new youth curfew on Monday which has sparked a debate.

Some people online are debating about whether curfews actually work to reduce crime and while there's no definitive consensus there have been a lot of studies.

The Verify team turned to expert sources to break down the topic.


  • Jillian Carr, a professor at Purdue University
  • Eduardo Ferrer, a law professor from the Juvenile Justice Initiative at Georgetown University


A 2016 paper looked at data from 12 different studies on curfews.

"It found that juvenile curfews are ineffective at reducing crime and victimization," Ferrer said.

Then there's a 2000 study that focused specifically on Prince George's County and states that the impacts on people under 18 were "small and not statistically significant."

Although the study found that crimes against 22- to 25-year-olds did appear to go down.

Meanwhile, another study published in 2017 looked at D.C. gunshot data and found that gunshots actually increased slightly as a result of an earlier curfew. Carr researched this paper.

"When you take innocent bystanders off the street using something like a curfew, you're potentially reducing the cost to firing a gun," Carr said.

A 2012 study, which has a very different result, finds that curfews reduced the number of young people being arrested by about 10%.

So while the data is not definitive, there are numerous studies suggesting youth curfews may not lead to reduced crime.

A spokesperson for Alsobrooks told WUSA9 that they've used curfews in the past and had tremendous success.

"The administration successfully utilized a curfew in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic after thousands of youth were gathering at National Harbor," the spokesperson said. "The purpose of enforcing this existing curfew is not to penalize or burden children, it's to engage parents and family members in their safety and wellbeing."

Watch Next: Teen curfew to be enforced in Prince George's County amid crime increase

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