The Columbus Dispatch reports that enforcement of a “daytime curfew” truancy law that forbids children from being on the streets during school hours has become a valuable crime-prevention tool. Columbus crime numbers showed a 43 percent reduction in daytime burglaries, thefts from cars and malicious destruction from the 2005-06 school year to the 2009-10 school year in a police zone on the city’s Near East Side. Enforcement of the law began in 2007. “This has gone beyond our expectations,” Lt. Bob Meader said. “I dropped off my chair when I got these numbers.”
Citywide, Columbus police picked up students 2,737 times last school year and filed 356 charges. Police take students to a truancy-intervention center the first four times. Then it’s deemed that intervention isn’t working, and the police leave the students with a parent or, in rare cases, social services. The police start filing truancy charges on the third offense. Columbus law forbids anyone ages 6 to 18 from being on the street during the school day.