Hour Town

Six months after its debut, the county's scheme to keep teens out of nighttime trouble gets mixed reviews

The ordinance will expire after eighteen months, on July 1, 1997, unless county commissioners vote to extend it. Burke predicts an extension -- and perhaps an expansion.

"I'm looking at eight or nine o'clock on weekdays, and keeping it midnight or so on weekends," says Burke. "I think that with the [pro-curfew] position President Clinton has taken and the success stories we're hearing, the curfew is a good tool if used with discretion. I believe it will be extended until we have a real drop in our juveniles being hurt."

Curfew opponents cite the fact that most violent crimes committed by youths occur in the daytime, before the curfew takes effect. Rather than a curfew, they say, a commitment should be made to build stronger families, better schools, and nurture community programs. The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has contested the constitutionality of the Dade ordinance; the case is on appeal in the Florida Supreme Court.

Robyn Blumner, the Florida ACLU's executive director, argues that curfews presume criminal behavior and deprive youths of due process, and calls the appeal a "huge" priority. "Why don't we just shackle kids when they're born and only unhook them when they're in school?" she scoffs. "I think it's really abhorrent.

In last week's issue, an article titled "Hour Town" contained two errors. Owing to conflicting information provided by the Miami Beach Police Department, three of four victims of a June 8 shooting incident were inaccurately reported to have been standing outside the Cameo Theatre in Miami Beach. The incident actually took place near the intersection of Fourteenth Street and Washington Avenue, about a block south of the Cameo. The age of the suspected shooter was also incorrect. He will turn 21 in October. New Times regrets the errors.Info:Published:

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