My story last week about San Diego’s increased use of curfew sweeps stirred a passionate discussion.
Proponents have long said the sweeps are responsible for a recent drop in juvenile crime, but our analysis of five years of crime trends questions whether that’s true. Places without the sweeps have reported equal or greater drops in crime than those with them.
For a fuller perspective of what people are saying in the community, here’s a collection of comments and feedback from readers, police and elected officials.
Christopher Yanov, founder and president of Reality Changers, a nonprofit aiming to deter gang violence, in the story comments:
|If we spent more resources figuring out “how to keep the lights on” by providing more positive activities for these youth, then we wouldn’t need the curfew sweeps in the first place.
Asst. Police Chief Boyd Long, who oversees patrol operations and was quoted in the story, in an email to me (used with permission):
|Because of these operations, many families that were not, are now engaged with their kids and are less likely to have the heartache associated with their kids being involved in criminal activity as a victim or a suspect, narcotics usage or even worse. Your story failed to identify what I clearly portrayed in that this police department cares for the kids in our communities. We work hard to assure for their safety and the curfew sweeps are just one piece of the effort.
Karla Jensen in the story comments of “Curfew Sweeps Hit the Airwaves“:
|Instead of asking whether or not the police are conducting curfew sweeps fairly, we should be demanding to know why we even have juvenile curfews in the first place. There are many concerns that should be addressed regarding juvenile curfew laws; are they really protecting the public, are they really protecting our youth, are they fairly applied, and do the benefits (if any) outweigh the financial costs to taxpayers or the price paid by our youth when they lose their liberties?
Councilman Todd Gloria, who represents neighborhoods stretching from Hillcrest to City Heights, in a written statement:
|It is difficult to quantify crimes that are never committed or a young person who is not a victim of a crime thanks to this preventative approach to law enforcement. It is also impossible to measure the value of the strengthened relationships between the police and the community that also result from the curfew sweeps. Because of its proactive and preventative approach, because it empowers citizens to partner with law enforcement, and because it leverages scarce city, school district and nonprofit resources, I stand by my assertion that this program is government at its best.
Kevin Keenan, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s local branch, on his Facebook page:
|ACLU has long opposed curfews and successfully sued over San Diego’s first one. Keegan’s reporting shows once again there is no evidence they are helping and some evidence that they are not helping. But, what struck me anew was the photos of all these kids in handcuffs… for what? being out late? Whatever the other effects — what about the psychological effect and societal message of putting so many kids from only certain communities in handcuffs.
Susan Taylor in the story comments:
|Does this mean that all minors in, say Rancho Bernardo or Peñasquitos or La Jolla are in no danger of being “cuffed,” since they don’t live in inner city neighborhoods? Isn’t anyone else concerned just a little about the profiling going on here?
Quentin Crisp in the story comments:
|I think it is good that police are taking firm steps in these neighborhoods where crime is rampant. These children are the criminals of the future and the sooner police can make contact with them the easier it will be to catch them once they start raping and murdering. The only downside is that our prisons are so overcrowded that too often the laws have no teeth. We should build more prisons. It would stimulate the economy – contractors, construction, architects, correction officers, medics, etc would be in demand and our neighborhoods would be rid of undesirables.
John Thurston in the story comments:
|I agree that the sweeps may be opening up a kettle of fish…but what are these minors doing out on the streets after a known curfew hour anyway? They should not be out roaming around looking for entertainment or whatever they might be up to. Keep them off the streets to begin with and no one will be arrested in these sweeps if indeed they are necessary and continue.
What do you think about San Diego’s curfew sweeps? Please add your thoughts to this fascinating discussion in the comments section below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.