Omaha officials discuss introducing curfew for youth
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Omaha officials and residents are discussing a possible youth curfew following a gang shooting that led to a bystander being killed.
City Council Vice President Chris Jerram plans to talk with constituents about introducing a youth curfew to apply only during the summer, the Omaha World-Herald reported . He said he’s considering a 10 p.m. curfew for children under age 16 and an 11 p.m. curfew for those under 19, with exceptions.
The discussions come after a shooting earlier this month between gang members that killed a bystander and injured six others, including a 15-year-old.
Experts disagree on how effective curfews are at reducing crime.
Timothy Bray, director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research at the University of Texas at Dallas, said citywide curfews are usually ineffective. Curfews implemented in specific areas can deter juvenile crime because cities can focus police patrols on those areas, Bray said.
Resident Madison Hurd, 19, said a curfew could be difficult to enforce.
“I don’t think it would deter people,” Hurd said. “I know when I was in high school if somebody gave me a curfew I’m going to come out anyways, so I think just putting that law (in place) is going to make minors get more in trouble, even if they’re not doing anything.”
Resident Cody Johnson, 26, supports the curfew idea to keep children safe, though he doesn’t think it’ll improve the area’s safety.
The City Law Department has been researching curfew policy. Mayor Jean Stothert said she received a memo on the issue last week, which stated that a curfew would need to be citywide.
Stothert said city officials must analyze juvenile crime statistics and other data to show that a curfew is warranted. Omaha couldn’t impose a curfew based on “one isolated incident,” she said.
“Right now, I’m leaning against saying (a curfew) is even feasible,” she said. “I really don’t like the idea of imposing a citywide curfew.”
Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com