Monday, May 29, 2023 May 29, 2023
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Take a Look at the Disparities in How Dallas’ Youth Curfew Is Enforced

It didn't mean much to his colleagues, but Councilman Omar Narvaez presented damning evidence of the impact of Dallas' juvenile curfew yesterday.
By Shawn Shinneman |

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the various arguments at the City Council yesterday surrounding the juvenile curfew. They’re very similar to what I laid out a week ago. More or less, one side of the horseshoe wants the curfew to go away, because they say it unfairly targets children in some minority neighborhoods while white kids generally get to slide (77 percent of children cited last year were Latino). The other half calls this a necessary tool for police. They classify it as a way to initiate conversations in which the cops try to help kids—just trying to help, definitely not looking to tack on drug charges that could impact a kid’s chances to dig him or herself out of a tough situation.

That side of the Council also says the curfew was a community-born initiative when it started 25 years ago, that single parents still need help with these things, and so on and so forth.

That side does not represent District 6, where Councilman Omar Narvaez says his constituents in the predominately hispanic West Dallas neighborhood have been calling for a close examination of the curfew’s value and impact.

Here are the total number of citations issued in 2018 by district, which Narvaez read on Wednesday. He didn’t read all of them. I am trying to get my hands on all of them. But he pointed out the outsize impact on District 6 and District 1—those were the top two district for citations last year—and then added a few more. (Update: I was sent all the data and have added the districts Narvaez didn’t go through. Here is a district map, if you’re curious.) Here they are:

District 6: 107 tickets
District 1: 36
District 5: 27
District 14: 27
District 3: 20
District 7: 18
District 4: 14
District 8: 12
District 13: 8
District 2: 6
District 9: 6
District 11: 2
District 12: 2
District 10: 0

The curfew was allowed to expire—state law says it must be re-upped every three years—this month, after urging from a dozen organizations like the ACLU of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project. The direction at that time was to come back in the summer and assess how things were going without it. But after this sudden outcry, Council voted against a proposal by District 14 Councilman Philip Kingston, of Uptown and downtown, to return to this in May for public hearing. Instead, it’s set for public hearings on February 6 and February 13, before police even have time to draft a new plan.

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