Houston’s juvenile curfew ordinance forbids those younger than 18 from being on city streets from midnight to 6 a.m. The City Council is considering making that curfew earlier, and the proposal is fueling a debate about the value of curfews and the burden they put on police officers, reports the Houston Chronicle. Under the proposal, curfew would begin at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and on the eve of school holidays. It would apply to those younger than 17.
HPD issued about 500 curfew citations during each of the first three months of this year. Last year’s total was 3,781 tickets – down from more than 6,000 in 2002 and 2004, and 8,000 in 2003. An official attributed last year’s decrease to the department’s staffing problems. Opponents of the earlier curfew point to the staff shortage as one argument against the proposal, saying an extra hour or two means more responsibility for the thinly stretched force.