“This is just a starting point:” Proposed ordinance to establish city-wide youth curfew in Cambridge, city officials weigh in
CAMBRIDGE, Md.- “We always have the community that reaches out to us to say what are you going to do? What can you do? What actions are you going to take? So, this is just a starting point,” Cambridge Commission President Lajan Cephas said.
That starting point, tackling the growing concerns of violence in the Cambridge.
The Gun Violence Reduction Task Group proposed a pilot city-wide curfew for youth under the age of 15. “This is not anything put in place to criminalize children or juveniles. What the sole attention of this is to be accountability towards the parents,” Cephas said.
Under ordinance 1207, Any child under the age of 15 would have to be inside by 10p.m. from Sunday-Thursday and 11p.m. Friday-Saturday.
If caught out after those times, a warning would be issued followed by fines for parents of $100 for the first offense and $200 for later offenses.
It’s something Mayor Steve Rideout says he’s not on board with “Because you came out when it wasn’t his/her fault that you snuck out of the house or that she’s off working a second or third job,” Rideout said.
“That’s money that they need for food, rent, and the necessities of life. The logic of it is just beyond me.”
Pine street is an area where many shootings and assaults have been reported, which made it a focal point for the Cambridge Police Department. The department tell us the potential curfew could keep streets like that one crime free.
“If officers are out patrolling and they see something or see a group of juveniles that are certainly out past the hour, it gives the officers an opportunity to engage with the juveniles. Not in a negative manner, but more of a positive manner,” Chief Justin Todd said.
Rideout says the major crime concerns aren’t caused by youth, but rather adult drug and gang related offenses. “If we focus on curfews and think that’s the answer all that’s going to happen is those kids are going to grow up and get involved with the wrong young adults,” Rideout said.
“And they’re going wind up getting into to more trouble and ultimately being involved in criminal law.”
Mayor Rideout says getting youth engaged in additional community programming could be a possible solution.
The first reading of that ordinance was Monday night at Cambridge City Council meeting.
We’ll continue to follow this story and provide more details as we learn more.