Baltimore City Youth Curfew

There’s ample evidence that curfews don’t work. 

“Evidence suggests that juvenile curfews are ineffective at reducing crime and victimization. The average effect on juvenile crime during curfew hours was slightly positive — that is a slight increase in crime — and close to zero for crime during all hours,” wrote the authors of a 2016 study that examined the effect of curfews, as cited by the Marshall Project. “Similarly, juvenile victimization also appeared unaffected by the imposition of a curfew ordinance.”

Still, Mayor Brandon Scott forged ahead with one that went into effect on May 26 and lasts until Sept. 4. The curfew applies to “any young person under the age of 14 out after 9 p.m. and between the ages of 14-16 out after 11 p.m. on weekend or holiday nights, without a parent or guardian,” according to language from the city.  There are exceptions for things like young people traveling to or from jobs, or young people taking part in city-sponsored activities. 

Local media reported on a memo from Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael S. Harrison that outlined the role the Baltimore City Police Department plays in enforcing the curfew. 

“If police encounter young people violating the curfew, they are instructed to turn on body cameras and contact both their supervisor and the Youth Connection Centers, which officials said should mean the child’s primary contact would be with a non-law-enforcement staff member,” the Baltimore Sun reported.

“Police officers who encounter a crowd of 10 or more school-aged residents in violation of the curfew are directed to tell the group to disperse in three successive announcements, before the individuals could be relocated by a Youth Connection Center employee. The young people then could be picked up by a parent or guardian from the center, the police document said.”

The plan also includes repercussions for parents and guardians of young people caught breaking curfew — including a written warning, a $50 fine, or a $500 fine. Baltimore Beat asked Scott’s office what would happen if parents did not or could not pay the fines and did not receive an answer.

The punitive measures are the most troubling part of this plan. Guidelines for how police can and should interact with young people are great, but police have disregarded policies for interacting with residents in the past. The department is currently investigating a May 11 incident where an officer shot a teenager who was fleeing while holding a gun.

The Scott administration is heavily promoting services that are intended as positive ways to interact with young people. 

Baltimore Beat asked young people from the Baltimore Student Union, a group of young people representing schools around the city, for their thoughts on the plan. 

“I think the plan has good intentions behind it, but it’s still NOT targeting the root cause of a lot of the violent incidents our young people have to endure,” said Dom McClain, a member of the organization. “It’s just making people far more restricted in their lives — after all, if parents want to keep their children home after a certain time, let them do that on their own time, not create one for them.” 

“I think he has good intentions behind it, but the $50 to $500 jump for the fines is overboard,” Baltimore Student Union member Destiny Stewart said.

Renters’ Rights

Organizers at Baltimore Renters United celebrated a reprieve after officials at the Housing Authority of Baltimore City dropped over 200 planned eviction cases in late May. 

HABC Executive Director Janet Abrahams told local ABC affiliate WMAR that the cases were only dropped due to a technicality. However, organizers called it a win.

“We’re learning that some of these cases are actually getting dismissed, which is one of the outcomes we’ve hoped for,” Detrese Dowridge of Baltimore Renters United told the news outlet.

“More time, support & opportunities to build power are what give people a fighting chance,” the organization Baltimore Renters United tweeted.

The organization is also calling on city leaders to put $25 million in funding towards rental assistance for Baltimore residents.

“Right now, the city has committed about $5 million to renters, but the coalition is asking for more,” CBS affiliate WJZ reported.

Carmelo Anthony Retires

On May 22, Carmelo Anthony announced his retirement from the NBA. He released a video on social media thanking his fans and essentially passing the torch to his 16-year-old son Kiyan Carmelo Anthony. 

If you were a ball player or basketball enthusiast growing up in Baltimore in the early 2000s, more than likely you were obsessed with Anthony before he even entered the NBA. The West Baltimore native and Towson Catholic High graduate declared himself eligible for the NBA draft in 2003. As a freshman at Syracuse University, he had an explosive season averaging 22.2 points per game, leading the team in scoring, minutes played, rebounds, field goals, free throws, and attempts, and was named NCAA Most Outstanding Player. 

In 19 seasons, Melo was named an NBA All-Star 10 times. He played for six teams: the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Portland Trailblazers, and the Los Angeles Lakers alongside Lebron James. The 6’7’’ forward would rack up an admirable list of awards and accomplishments during his tenure, representing the USA in the Olympics four times,winning a bronze medal and three consecutive gold medals. 

Melo is also heavily invested in philanthropic work. The kid who once played crate ball in an alley behind Myrtle Avenue grew up to invest millions of dollars in youth programs and outreach efforts. The Carmelo Anthony Foundation has provided opportunities for young people since 2005, and he continues to make giving back a priority. 

Although he never won an NBA Championship, he has been highly celebrated and respected for his tenacity, work ethic, and dominance on the court. Not bad for a kid from West Baltimore.