SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – While violent crime has slightly reduced in many cities across the country, in the United States it still remains high compared to pre-pandemic levels. To combat this, some city mayors are suggesting curfews for juveniles in an attempt to curb the violence.

The thought behind this is that if juveniles are not on the streets, then they will not be able to commit crimes. From juveniles who feel they are being unfairly targeted to parents who feel that they are having their choices for their children taken away, this thought process and the subsequent curfews that often follow it are controversial, to say the least.

This begs the question: do curfews reduce violent crime? The research is not encouraging.

A systematic review from the Campbell Collaboration published in 2016 found that not only do curfews fail to reduce crime but in some cases, they even lead to an increase in certain crimes. The review found it had close to zero impact on the reduction of homicides.

Meanwhile, “Keep the Kids Inside? Juvenile Curfews and Urban Gun Violence” by Jillian B. Carr and Jennifer L. Doleac from 2015 found an even worse impact. Carr and Doleac studied if juvenile curfews in Washington, D.C. decreased gun violence in the area. They found that not only did the curfew fail to prevent gunfire incidents, but there was an increase of 150% during marginal hours.

Carr and Doleac mention a journal article by Patrick Kline in their research entitled “The Impact of Juvenile Curfew Laws on Arrests of Youth and Adults.” This article notes how Kline found evidence of arrest rates decreasing when curfew laws are in effect.

Carr and Doleac don’t believe that this is due to the laws themselves though. Instead, they noted how there were more factors to consider than arrests when it came to criminal activity. For example, if there were fewer people on the street, there would be fewer witnesses to crimes. With less witnesses, there are less arrests made.

Similarly, if police are too busy working to enforce curfew laws, they may not be able to focus on working to solve cases.

While arrests may go down, it is clear from the research conducted by the Campbell Collaboration as well as Carr and Doleac that the crimes themselves, particularly gun crimes, do not.

It is important to note that Carr and Doleac did not look into crimes that were unrelated to gun violence. However, the Campbell Collaboration did.

Curfews also have a second goal which is to reduce youth victimization. This means reducing the chance of a juvenile being the victim of a crime. The bad news? They don’t seem to be very good at that either.

As discussed in the Campbell Collaboration review, there seemed to be no impact on your victimization in the wake of curfew laws. You can read more about how they came to this conclusion by reading the full review through the link here.