Juvenile Curfew: Criminal Behavior and Victimization

Juvenile Curfew Effects on Criminal Behavior and Victimization: A Systematic Review
The Campbell Collaboration
David Wilson, Charlotte Gill, Ajima Olaghere, Dave McClure
The Campbell Collaboration cover

This study examines the effectiveness of the juvenile curfew. The juvenile curfew has a common sense appeal: keep youth at home during the late night and early morning hours and you will prevent them from committing a crime or being a victim of a crime, but prior reviews question the effectiveness of curfews. The aim of this review was to synthesize the evidence on the effectiveness of juvenile curfews in reducing criminal behavior and victimization among youth. The authors examined a juvenile's presence outside the home during certain times of day, focusing on the percent change in the crime or victimization rate during the period of time with a curfew relative to a baseline period.  Although inconclusive, the study suggest that juvenile curfews are ineffective at reducing crime and victimization.

The observational nature of the research designs creates potential sources of bias, and as such the findings need additional replication. However, many of the most plausible biases should have increased the likelihood of finding an effect. In particular, most of the studies reviewed were conducted during a time period when crime was decreasing throughout the United States. Thus, it appears that juvenile curfews either have no effect on crime and victimization or the effect is too small to be reliability detected with available data.