Oakland police chief pushing for youth curfew

August 3, 2012 4:55:07 PM PDT
The police chief says it's time to impose a curfew on the streets of Oakland. The violence involving teens and younger children is typically happening late at night and he wants it to stop. Police Chief Howard Jordan says he will ask the city council to impose a curfew to keep kids off the streets when they should be at home at night.

And this isn't the first time a curfew has been proposed. The last proposal, made October 4th 2011, didn't really go anywhere. While many details have not yet been released for this latest one, many are speculating that the two proposals may be very similar, that it would be a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. that applies to youth under the age of 18.

Violent crimes are up 20 percent in Oakland since January. Jordan knows something has to be done and likes the idea of a curfew. So does Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente. He wasn't available to talk Friday but his chief of staff, Claudia Jimenez, says De La Fuente was behind a similar proposal last year, "The shootings and the homicides that our young people are involved in as either victims or suspects, they are taking place during these hours, peak hours in the evening 10 p.m.," said Jimenez.

The last curfew proposal did not have the momentum that Chief Jordan hopes his will have. He's counting on the community to put pressure on the city council. An Oakland resident, who did not want to be named, says she would support a curfew, "Parents don't have any control on what their children do once they leave the door if it's in their minds to do something regardless of the time, it sadly is going to happen."

The details of a curfew have not been hammered out. That's why Mayor Jean Quan said Friday that she's waiting to see Jordan's entire plan.

Councilmember Desley Brooks, however, says she will not support a curfew, "When you don't have a real strategy you come up with gimmicks to make it look as if you are doing something."

Daniel McCallair is with the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, one of the first organizations to study the impact of curfews, "If the intention is to reduce crime, curfews are not a good policy, in fact just the opposite, it's a bad use of police resources."

And resources are something OPD doesn't have. In 2007 there were 741 police officers in Oakland. Now there are 644.


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