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Juvenile curfews

Health Factors: Community Safety
Decision Makers: Local Government State Government
Evidence Rating: Evidence of Ineffectiveness
Population Reach: 1-9% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: No impact on disparities likely

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Juvenile curfews are legal restrictions that prohibit youth under a certain age (usually 16, 17, or 18) from being in public places without adult supervision during certain hours, usually at night (e.g., between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.). Curfew restrictions regarding youth ages, hours, exempted activities, and penalties for violations vary by locality. Many states allow local governments to enact curfew laws or ordinances.

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is strong evidence that juvenile curfews do not affect youth crime and victimization rates during curfew hours (Campbell-Wilson 2016, Adams 2003). A Washington, DC-based evaluation indicated that changing curfew hours from midnight to 11 pm increased gunfire incidents between 11 pm and midnight (Carr 2015).

Available evidence suggests juvenile curfews may reduce youth motor vehicle fatalities and arrest rates; additional research is needed to determine effects on fatalities and arrests (Grossman 2015).


United States

Hawaii is the only state with a statewide juvenile curfew. Hawaii’s curfew restricts children under the age of 16 from being in public places between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. (Hawaii-Curfew).


Kenosha (Kenosha-Curfew), Marshfield (Marshfield-Curfew), Reedsburg (Reedsburg-Curfew), Milwaukee (Milwaukee-Curfew), and Dane County (Dane-Curfew) are examples of areas with local curfews.

Citations - Evidence

Adams 2003* - Adams K. The effectiveness of juvenile curfews at crime prevention. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 2003;587(1):136–159. Accessed on June 1, 2016
Campbell-Wilson 2016 - Wilson DB, Gill C, Olaghere A, McClure D. Juvenile curfew effects on criminal behavior and victimization: A systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews. 2016:3. Accessed on June 1, 2016
Carr 2015 - Carr JB, Doleac JL. Keep the kids inside? Juvenile curfews and urban gun violence. 2015. Accessed on June 1, 2016
Grossman 2015* - Grossman ER, Miller NA. A systematic review of the impact of juvenile curfew laws on public health and justice outcomes. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2015;49(6):945–951. Accessed on June 1, 2016

Citations - Implementation

Dane-Curfew - Dane County. Ordinance 34.08: Curfew for minors. Accessed on June 6, 2016
Hawaii-Curfew - State of Hawaii. Hawaii Revised Statutes. Accessed on June 6, 2016
Kenosha-Curfew - Kenosha Police Department. Curfew information. Accessed on June 6, 2016
Marshfield-Curfew - City of Marshfield. Municipal code section 10-101: Curfew. Accessed on June 6, 2016
Milwaukee-Curfew - City of Milwaukee. Police step up curfew enforcement. Accessed on June 6, 2016
Reedsburg-Curfew - City of Reedsburg. Juvenile curfew. Accessed on June 6, 2016

Page Last Updated

June 3, 2016

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