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On Friday, April 16, Sandra McBrayer from The Children's Initiative, a local nonprofit agency that "works to improve the well being of children and youth" in the county, presented the San Diego County report card on children and families to the Public Safety Committee for San Diego Association of Governments.

Made up of elected officials and public safety officials from around San Diego County, the Public Safety Committee listened as McBrayer presented data from law enforcement agencies, school district documents, and hospital records to give public officials some insight on the health and wellbeing of children living in San Diego County.

The report, which gives recommendations on ways to improve school attendance, decrease juvenile crime, and reduce alcohol-related car accidents for underage drivers, was presented to the county board of supervisors during a meeting on February 9.

One graph included in the report card was entitled "Child Victim of Violent Crimes." The graph showed that in 2008 the majority of violent crimes perpetrated on children under the age of 17, including robbery, aggravated assault, rape, and murder, occurred between the hours of 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. After 4 p.m., the number of violent crimes decreased from 506 to 342 between 9 p.m. and midnight. The data was collected from the Automated Regional Justice Information System, a system used by justice agencies in San Diego and Imperial counties to share information on regional crime.

Despite already reviewing the data at the February 9 meeting, chair of the county board of supervisors Pam Slater-Price questioned the numbers used for the graph.

"So, the county is in the process of adopting a curfew ordinance, much like the City of San Diego," said Slater-Price after the presentation. On March 2, Supervisor Slater-Price and her colleagues enacted a new county ordinance making it illegal for minors to be out past ten o'clock.

"We were being told that there's actually a spike [in violent crimes] after ten o'clock," said Slater-Price.

The county supervisor appeared baffled at the conflicting data from McBrayer: "It seemed to be that before ten o'clock was better than after ten, yet this [data] seems to refute that."

McBrayer informed Slater-Price that she would provide her with more details on the times of day when minors are most at risk of becoming victims of violent crimes.

In the meantime, San Diego County officials are notifying communities throughout the county of the curfew ordinance.

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Comments

CuddleFish April 18, 2010 @ 1:42 a.m.

Thanks for this excellent report, Dorian. It's been my understanding that the afternoon hours the Children's Initiative discussed have long been known as the hours children are prone to get in trouble, partly because many parents are working during the time when children have left school and are home alone or out on the streets, I'm surprised Slater didn't know that; it was mainly for this reason that the Six to Six program was initiated. Also a pilot program for at-risk youth (CALGRIP) has been started in three recreation centers, open as I recall from 9 to midnight on certain nights of the week, with plans to expand to three more in the next cycle. Don't know if either of those programs were mentioned.

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Dorian Hargrove April 19, 2010 @ 9:26 a.m.

CF, thanks for the comment. Neither program, SIx to Six or CALGRIP, was mentioned during the meeting.

I did find a press release about the new curfew on Dianne Jacob's website. Here's a sample of the press release:

"Statistics reveal that the hour between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. is prime crime time for kids. By enforcing the earlier curfew we can ensure that kids are exactly where their families believe them to be,” Jacob said.

Local statistics suggest that the enforcement of an earlier curfew will lessen the number of crimes against juveniles and especially target violent crimes."

Dorian

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CuddleFish April 19, 2010 @ 10:04 a.m.

Thanks for the follow-up, Dorian. I don't get what the push is for the earlier curfew when the problem with children and violent crime is in the afternoon. Slater must have an agenda ...

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CuddleFish April 19, 2010 @ 10:07 a.m.

Oh. Forgot she's running for re-election this year. ;)

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Visduh April 19, 2010 @ 11:39 a.m.

Curfews, regardless of evidence or any rationale, are always a positive seller with voters. "Those kids shouldn't be out late at night" is a truism. But curfews usually suffer from scant enforcement, and are used more often by the police to harrass certain areas of town, certain kids. Look at the stats of traffic fatalities, drive-by shootings, and street crime in general, and it is epidemic between midnight and 5 am. That is as true for adults of all ages as for teenagers. Perhaps we ALL should have a curfew that keeps us home during the early morning hours of darkness.

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Robert Johnston April 21, 2010 @ 12:41 p.m.

When I was living in Lemoore, one of our local TV stations (ABC-30) would, at 11pm, broadcast the following before the late-night news:

"It's 11pm. Do you know where your children are?"

Usually, I was in bed, btw (I hit the rack around 10pm, unless I was with my dad and his ladylove at the CPO Club's Shrimp-A-Peel/dance at the Naval Air Station.)--my schoolwork often wore me out. Still, I often wondered where the rest of my schoolchums were.

--LPR

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