The start of Baltimore’s new youth curfew

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Baltimore’s controversial curfew law, one of the strictest in the nation, took effect Friday night with the aim of protecting children.

The city became a police state to some and a place that is finally cracking down on problem youths to others. For months, the proposal to change the curfew law was met with heated discussions at community meetings, letters to the editor in favor of the changes and dissenting letters against them.

Under the city’s previous curfew, unchaperoned children under 17 had to be home by 11 p.m. during the week and midnight on weekends. On Friday that changed to 9 p.m. for children under 14. Ages 14 to 16 are required to be home by 10 on school nights and 11 p.m. on weekends.

If a parent or guardian is with them, children can be out as long as they want. School, work, religious and recreational activities are excluded. Parents of children found in violation could face fines of between $30 and $500 — but officials say those could be waived under certain conditions. - Justin George, The Baltimore Sun