Reacting to what the Washington Post calls a “surge in violent crime,” the Washington D.C.’s City Council approved an emergency bill that would impose a 10 p.m. curfew on youths younger than 18, give police immediate access to some confidential juvenile records and install surveillance cameras in residential neighborhoods. Youths must be off the streets by the tightened curfew for the next three months unless they are with a parent, on the way home from work, or attending a civic or church outing. The curfew is two hours earlier than the one in effect since 1999. Police report a 13 percent increase in all robberies and an 82 percent rise in the number of juveniles arrested on robbery charges this year. “The problems D.C. is experiencing now are pretty much national problems,” said Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton. “There’s been a pretty significant uptick in crime.” Philadelphia residents voted in May to install neighborhood surveillance cameras. In Boston, where the homicide rate hit a 10-year-high last year, Mayor Thomas Menino suggested that vehicles entering Massachusetts be randomly searched.
Council member Adrian Fenty, one of the front-runners in the Sept. 12 primary election for mayor, voted against the bill. “I think people know that these are not ways to solve crime. At best, we’re tinkering around the edges,” he said. “At worst, we are putting forth that we are doing something about a crime emergency when everyone in this room knows that we are not.”