Curfews are meant to keep children safe, but do they?

“When you take kids indoors, they may be less likely to be the victims,” ​​said study author and Purdue University economist Jillian Carr. “But if you think having no witnesses and potential victims makes it a little easier for someone to pull the trigger, that may explain why you might see an increase in gun violence during these times. .”

Carr’s work was based on the number of gunshots recorded by an audio-based gunshot detection technology called ShotSpotter and did not track gunshot wounds or fatalities.

She also expressed concerns that the curfew is disproportionately applied to black teens and creates opportunities for interactions between police and teens to escalate into violence.

Kendra Van de Water, executive director of YEAH Philly, said she doesn’t think a curfew will stop anyone planning to shoot someone else, and instead the city needs to do more to address the root causes of armed violence. She also fears that it is a misdirection of police resources.

“If we’re talking about PPD having a shortage of officers, and we have a low rate of resolution of deaths and non-fatals, and then you want the police to enforce curfew?” she says.

The number of curfew violations issued by PPD doubled between July 2021 and July 2022, from 558 to 1,146. Police did not respond to WHYY’s request for comment on the reason for the jump.

Kimberly Reese, director of a nonprofit for young people called Guiding Stars, said parents of teenagers she works with have called for change because they want their children to be safe at home. She does not accept the argument that busier streets are safer streets.

“We have several shootings in broad daylight with people walking down the street,” she said. “So having more people on the outside won’t stop people from being violent.”

Some campaigners have called on parents to be better informed of the whereabouts of their children at all times, but especially late at night.

Council member Gilmore Richardson says she hopes curfew centers will help provide young people with the support and mentorship they need to abstain and protect themselves from violence. The city plans to open sites in central and northwest Philadelphia in August, for a total of four curfew centers. The FY22 budget included $1.3 million for the centers, and the FY23 budget includes $3 million.

If you or someone you know has been affected by gun violence in Philadelphia, you can find bereavement support and resources here.

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