Nashville considers earlier curfew to cut down on teen crime

Six teenagers have been murdered in Nashville so far in 2017 and seven others have been arrested for homicide. That’s more than the six arrested in 2016 and the same number arrested in 2015 and 2014 combined.

One solution, according to a Metro councilmember, is to set an earlier curfew, a proposal the council will vote on for the first time Thursday.

Between June 1 and August 31 and on Fridays and Saturdays year-round, the curfew for teenagers under the age of 18 in Davidson County is midnight. The rest of the year, it’s 11 pm. Councilman Decosta Hastings wants curfew at 11 pm all the time.

“Anything good does not happen after 11,” Hastings told media. “We are sick and tired of seeing children die and being shot.”

Earlier curfews, however, don’t always work and, according to a study published last year, they can, in fact, be counterproductive.

A 2016 study published in the Social Science Research Network showed that gun violence increased by as much as 150% during the earliest curfew hours when city’s curfews change in the fall. Jillian B. Carr of Purdue University and Jennifer L. Doleac of the University of Virginia tracked gun violence during curfew times in poorer sections of Washington, D.C.

“Having people around helps deter crime by increasing the likelihood that an offender will get caught. Curfews incentivize law-abiding citizens to be at home instead of out on the streets,” Doleac told the Wall Street Journal. “Also, enforcing the curfew distracts police from doing other things. If those things were effective, then switching police attention to curfew enforcement will increase crime.”