Sunday, September 18, 2011

Quality of Life committee report

At the Quality of Life Committee meeting on Sept. 12, the committee approved a motion to recommend that the MCCAB send a letter to the County Executive supporting a curfew law for the County. The draft letter is below and will be discussed at the MCCAB meeting on Sept. 20.


Mr. Isiah Leggett
County Executive
Rockville, MD 20850

Dear Mr. Leggett:

On behalf of the Mid-County Citizens Advisory Board (MCCAB), I am writing to express the MCCAB’s support for legislation that would establish a curfew for minors under the age of 18. A curfew would help reduce juvenile violence and gang activity in the County. A recent incident in downtown Silver Spring illustrates the rationale for a curfew. On July 1, more than 80 teenagers and young adults—many of them gang members—fought for more than two hours until 2:30 a.m. (Concerns about Silver Spring spur consideration of curfew, Washington Post, July 26, 2011). If a curfew had been in place, officers could have ordered minors to go home and arrested those who refused before the fighting escalated. Although a curfew is not a panacea for underage crime, it would give police another tool to prevent juvenile crime that occurs late at night. A curfew law would also align Montgomery County with two of our neighboring jurisdictions—Prince George’s County and the District of Columbia—which have existing curfew laws.

We agree with your proposed bill that a curfew should operate from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. from Monday through Thursday and from 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. A curfew should contain exceptions for minors who are accompanied by a parent, traveling in the County, engaging in employment, responding to an emergency, or homeless. A curfew should also exclude minors who are going to or returning home from a school, religious, entertainment, or recreational activity. In addition, violations of a curfew should be considered a civil offense. Finally, the County should monitor enforcement of a curfew law and issue a public report on the number of curfew violations and the impact of the law on juvenile crime and gang activity during curfew hours.

We look forward to working with you to improve public safety in our neighborhoods. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to share our views on the importance of a curfew law.


Gamunu Wijetunge

CC: Valerie Ervin

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