Opponents blast plan for stricter Philly curfew

Philadelphia City Council could vote as soon as next week on a bill to tighten the curfew for minors.

But the measure has opponents, as council members found out Thursday during the weekly council session.

Ten people testified against the tougher curfew with many more looking on from the gallery.

T.J. Ghose, a professor of social work at the University of Pennsylvania, said he has researched the topic.

“It did not work in Detroit, it did not work in Compton (Calif.), it did not work in Boston, it did not work in New York City,” he said. “So why are we not going with evidence-based policy?”

Khadijah White spoke even more directly.

“In limiting the movement of youth, we are also restricting them to the poor and less safe areas of the city,” she said. “We vehemently oppose this back-door approach to enforcing a widespread segregation and caging of Philadelphia’s youth.”

Mayor Michael Nutter said temporary early curfews have worked to cut down on flash mob activity in the city, so that’s why he wants to make them permanent.

Nicholas Shanken of the group Trash the Curfew said forcing youth to go home early could have just the opposite of the intended effect.

“The curfew promotes fear of authority and police from a very young and impressionable age. Do we really want to raise children in a city where they are taught to fear and find ways to disobey those sworn to protect and serve?” he said. “Couldn’t this distaste for authority promote criminality rather than prevent it?”

Members of the group Occupy Philadelphia even broke from their encampment to join opponents of the bill.

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