Introducing a ‘youth curfew’ is a very controversial subject because a lot of people have many different ideas and opinions. Some may be strongly opposed to the idea whilst others are in full support of this suggestion. Many young people have been criticised and discriminated against as there has been an increase in teen-crime, but is it fair to curb all teenagers because a few are unruly or misguided? The word curfew itself has very negative connotations, suggesting the situation is dire.
If people are forced to stay at home for at least ten hours, then something must be seriously wrong. One question that may be pertinent here is about teen crime, is it really so serious today? Since 1995 there has been a significant increase in the number of crimes committed by young people, but most of these crimes aren’t caused because the teenagers have a natural inclination to vandalise, destroy, thieve or assault. Many of these crimes are committed at night and are alcohol or drug-related.
If this is the case then shouldn’t the authorities concentrate on eradicating drug trafficking or underage alcohol abuse? I believe that instead of ‘wasting’ money or devoting time and resources trying to stop the drug or alcohol problems the government would choose to take an easier, cheaper way out and simply curb all teenagers from leaving their homes between certain times. I think this is unfair and instead of preventing teen crime by cutting it off at its source, they choose another, less efficient (and more controversial) way.
However a curfew might be seen by others in different light. Most teenagers would see the curfew as a negative imposition but some parents may be thankful for the curfew because they may not know of what their children are doing when they go out at night and so the curfew will be a good chance to control their children and keep a watchful eye on them. However it could be argued that if parents were so anxious about their children then they should take responsibility themselves rather than relying on the authorities.
Also, teenagers are not only the exercisers of crime but also the victims. A curfew may also be a very effective way of protecting teenagers which I think would be a very beneficial step taken by the government. Most teenagers’ favourite time is the weekend, they work all week, usually doing things they don’t necessarily like, and then the weekend comes and they can relax and do what they want. It is also a time where they can meet up with friends and have fun. Is it right to take away this privilege from them?
When deprived of this freedom it may actually cause an increase in more delinquent behaviour. Some teenagers however may not like the weekend much as at night they might feel pressured by friends and others to do things they may dislike or feel is wrong, for example someone being pressured into taking drugs. A curfew, therefore, may make them feel less vulnerable. In addition, elderly people may be scared to leave their homes at night time for fear of being harassed or assaulted by younger people.
I think it is a shame that elderly people feel like this and if this is the case then the introduction of a curfew may make them feel safer or more confident to go outside when it gets dark. Although it is essential to emphasise that the elderly people can equally be victimised by more mature people. Most teenagers have no desire to go out and smash things, vandalise and graffiti walls and disturb peace. Only a few teenagers do want to do this.
I think that the young people who do act criminally should be targeted by the authorities and they should be punished and not the whole youth population. Nevertheless, I think the idea of the parents being charged if their children are caught out after dark is a clever way to keep children in as the parents wouldn’t want to be charged or shamed if their children were accused of breaking the curfew. Some youths may wander the streets at night, occasionally getting into trouble as possibly they cannot tolerate going home.
Family problems or even abuse may cause these youths to hate their homes and so wander the streets instead. Is it really fair to force the child to go back to his/her abusive or dysfunctional family if it will just cause the child pain? Many teenagers who cause crime just for the sheer thrill of it probably have some unhealthy family background and so the government should focus on aiding and counselling these children and their families instead of locking them away at home. If some youths vandalise it may be because they are bored or having nothing better to do.
I think this says more about the city or town they live in rather than the youths themselves. Shouldn’t the area have some activities for youths to do so they don’t have to resort to vandalism and other wrongful behaviour? This shows that maybe youths are ignored in society and the illegal behaviour could be a cry for attention? I think that if teen crime is becomes a really serious issue with elderly people afraid to leave their homes and parents worried sick about their children then introducing a curfew is acceptable.
On the contrary when curfew is just a way to stop teenagers leaving the house whenever there are more serious crimes out there I think its wrong, and that the authorities are too quick to blame teenagers rather than find other sources to the problem. I agree that in a grave situation where teen crime is out of control that introducing a curfew is an answer to the problem however is it fair to use the youth population as a scapegoat and punish them for crimes which they did not necessarily commit? In conclusion I believe the arguments against imposing a curfew on young people are more persuasive than those in favour.