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Enforcing Curfew Laws for Teenagers

June 11, 1996

Regarding "Curfews Are Popular, But Results Mixed," June 1:

The curfews instituted by many cities, including Los Angeles, are unfair, unconstitutional and a waste of time and money. Using this city's limited law enforcement resources to arrest law-abiding 16-year-olds out past their bedtime is ridiculous. The vast majority of people stopped for curfew violations are innocent kids out enjoying their weekends. Although the curfew might reduce juvenile crime, it is a textbook example of the treatment being worse than the disease.

If curfews (and school uniforms) are such effective crime prevention tools, why not impose them on everybody, regardless of age? We could also outlaw driving so that citizens will not get into accidents.


Van Nuys

* Over the past months, I have been trying to decide what new business to get into. President Clinton has shown me the way (May 30). Last year, when he was trying to solve the crime problem, he decided that, since many crimes were committed late at night, he would institute midnight basketball. The logic of this was obvious to everyone.

Now, it is just as logical that the president would institute curfews. If most of the crimes are committed late at night, then keep the criminals off the street from dusk to dawn.

My new business will be to buy up all the basketballs that the government bought for midnight basketball, and wait for the logic to change. The government, I am sure, in the not too distant future, will see the error of its ways and go back to midnight basketball. Then, you know who is going to have the basketballs to sell them.



* In Los Angeles, the curfew is 10 p.m. already, and you can get a ticket if you are out after that time.

Many of my Friday or Saturday nights consist of just hanging out at local coffeehouses and talking with friends over a cup of coffee. Seems no harm to me, and it appears peaceful, too, until you reach 10 p.m. and all of a sudden it looks like a drug bust. Cops come from every corner--sometimes I see up to 10 police cars in one night--just to give tickets to innocent teenagers. My friend got a ticket skating at 10:05 right outside his own house.

Why can't kids just go home at 10? Well, why should we have to? I know we are minors, but this is still a free country. Teenagers like to go out at night. They like to hang out with their friends. If the police kick them out of safe, supervised places like coffeehouses, clubs and arcades, they won't go home. They'll go to other more dangerous places where they won't be bothered.

SARAH MOSE, 10th Grade

Grant High School, Van Nuys

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