Should Denver have curfews for people under 18?

Illustration: Carter Klassen · The Sentry

Illustration: Carter Klassen · The Sentry
It hinders teens from having fun

Opinion by Kennedy Erhart

Denver’s recent enforcement of the 11 p.m. curfew on school nights and midnight on weekends for those under 18 is ludicrous for those just under the age cutoff. While the intentions for the curfew are well mannered, it makes it difficult for those at the age of 17 to begin acting like adults when they are still treated as kids. 

If a student is expected to plot out the rest of their future at the age of 17—choosing colleges, finding housing, preparing for living on their own—they shouldn’t be expected to be home by 11 p.m. to midnight during the summer months when school isn’t even in session. In some cases, some students may already be freshmen in college at 17 and certainly shouldn’t be restrained to a curfew if they’re responsible enough to live on their own.

According to The Denver Channel, “Studies have found there is no evidence that youth curfews reduce crime and/or victimization of young people.” If there hasn’t been any correlation to curfews and crime reduction against minors, why are those that are old enough to be expected to care for themselves still forced to be home by a certain time during the summer months? That time should entail going to concerts and spending time with friends.

  The curfew age cutoff should be moved to 16 and under instead. Someone making adult decisions about their future and those already living on their own shouldn’t miss out on opportunities during their last months at home, like spending time with their friends. 

The experiences from the last semester of high school, the summer before college, and even into the first semester of college shouldn’t be hindered because of a curfew that’s treating young adults like children. Why should students that are a year apart in age—but still expected to act in equivalent manners—be treated differently?

It promotes safety and responsibility

Opinion by Jaleesia Fobbs

Denver’s city curfew was not intended to hinder teenagers from having fun but rather create an environment for teenagers to be safe, as well as foster a sense of responsibility among young adults. 

Even if curfews for people under the age of 18 have no correlation to reduced crime among young adults, that doesn’t mean there aren’t external factors that might affect the safety of Denver’s youth. The average bar closes at 2 a.m. and driving home at 11. p.m. can be deemed much safer than driving home at early hours in the morning, where the possibility of people driving under the influence increases. But even alcohol doesn’t have to be a contributing factor, as according to the CDC, “the risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16-19-year-olds than among any other age group.” 

Addressing the issue of people under 18 who are in college and/ or living on their own, Denver’s Department of Public Safety has outlined exceptions to the curfew rule, including: “Minors working, traveling to work, returning from work, and attending an official school, religious, or other recreational activity supervised by adults and sponsored by the city, civic organizations, religious organizations or another similar entity.”  At the end of the day, a responsible person should understand that rules are rules and that they will have time to have all the fun they want when they reach a certain age.

Finally, the opponent argues that curfews prevent teenagers from being able to “act like adults” and that it “treats them like kids,” but this is simply the opposite effect curfews actually have. If anything, curfews promote responsibility by allowing teens to understand the importance of time management and what it means to keep track of their schedules; manage traffic; and be on time for class, appointments, or their jobs. The opponent says that someone who is responsible enough to make adult decisions shouldn’t be prohibited by this rule, but really, what is there to do in a city like Denver anyway after 11 p.m. when someone is under 21? The options are limited. 

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