Conroe, June 26 – Tucked neatly under the secretive “consent” agenda is a curfew ordinance under which elitist lame duck Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal seeks to impose a curfew ordinance on all of the unincorporated areas of Montgomery County whereby Doyal and his sidekick Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commisioner Charlie Riley would find the parents of children under the age of 17 years caught outside of their homes between midnight and 6 a.m. Doyal’s and Riley’s anti-parent ordinance assumes they know how to parent better than the plebeian citizens of Montgomery County who, as parents, apparently require the Montgomery County Commissioners Court’s supervision.
Specifically, Doyal’s secretive ordinance provides:
“An ordinance of the Commissioners Court of Montgomery County, Texas, establishing curfew hours for persons under the age of seventeen (17) years. Providing it is an offense for a parent or guardian to knowingly permit a minor to violate the curfew hours established herein; providing it is an offense for an owner, operator, or employee of an establishment to allow a minor to remain on the premises of the establishment in violation of the curfew hours; providing defenses; providing a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) upon conviction of a violation of this ordinance; providing that any ordinance in conflict herein is expressly repealed; providing a savings clause; effective date and expiration.”
Doyal’s and Riley’s proposal should receive the same level of popular support as Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s proposal to hold individuals criminally liable if someone uses a firearm taken from them to shoot others.
Obviously, Doyal and Riley believe they know how to parent better than the 570,000 citizens of Montgomery County who did not win an election. The question the Commissioners Court should consider, however, is whether curfew laws work to reduce crime. A major study, which a team of scientists from Purdue University and the University of Virginia conducted in 2016 and which the Wall Street Journal published, found that curfews were actually counterproductive in reducing the amount of crime.
Teen curfews arguably increase crime. Curfews have this effect for two reasons. First, as Viriginia’s Professor Jennifer Doleac has explained, “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.” Second, enforcing curfews distracts patrol officers from taking other actions to prevent legal violations. Other studies, such as one conducted in downtown Dallas in 2015, have found the opposite result that curfews reduce violent crimes. Some criminologists have argued that curfews are, perhaps, more effect to reduce crime in urban areas such as Houston than they are in suburban areas such as New Caney, and The Woodlands.
Either way, what is clear is that Doyal and Riley intend to take out their frustrations as parents on other parents whom they propose to punish for their children appearing in public late at night or early in the morning.