Montgomery County committee urges 'no' on curfew

Teenagers are out at the Montgomery County fair.

A council committee recommended Thursday the full council vote 'no' on a proposed curfew, saying crime has gone down and the rule would be unfair.

“We don't see the need for a curfew...we think it restricts an entire group to get at misbehavior by a few,” said Phil Andrews, chairman of the public safety committee.

The rule would ban teenagers from being outside past 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends. The proposal has been debated for months.

County Executive Ike Leggett proposed the curfew, with a number of exceptions, after a fight this summer in Silver Spring. He said gang members in D.C. and Prince George's counties, which do have curfews, cross over the border into Montgomery County.

Police have supported the curfew, insisting they would be fair in enforcing it.

“We're not going to back up a transport wagon up to a movie theatre and say, 'OK, everybody under the age of 18 get in the wagon,’” said Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger. “It's not going to happen that way.”

The committee also spoke out against an alternative anti-loitering bill proposed by council member Andrews, with opponents saying it's too vague and problematic for police to enforce.