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City Leaders: Baltimore Youth Curfew Already Working

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- It's been one week since Baltimore launched one of the strictest youth curfews in the nation. City leaders say it's already working to get children off the streets.

The curfew law has drawn fire from critics who say it goes too far and violates families' rights.

Christie Ileto has more.

The curfew aims to protect children, but there's also a new teen initiative happening at Baltimore's Inner Harbor that's promoting positive change.

Before his 11 p.m. city enforced curfew, 16-year-old Diamonta Boyd holds his post at the Inner Harbor. He's one of 25 peace ambassadors with Hood2Harbor.

It's a teen led movement by the Inner Harbor Project that launched the same night Baltimore's tough curfew law went into effect, requiring kids under 14 to be home by 9 p.m., those under 16 in by 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends.

"We promote positive behavior to other teens," Boyd said.

While also promoting safety in a popular spot once plagued by teen violence and melee.

"Some teens might be a little angry about the curfew, but us being down there and showing them that there's not too much to be angry about," peace ambassador Adrian Hughes said.

Supporters have long argued the new curfew keeps kids safe in a city that struggled with crime, while critics say the rules are vague.

"There have been really no clear answers given to the community on key aspects on how the law is enforced," a member of the ACLU said.

But in its first week, city officials say the hotly contested curfew law is working.

Last weekend, city leaders say 16 youths were taken to connection centers. Three were taken home.

But it's what's happening here the program's coordinator says that is making a difference.

"These youth leaders are incredible assets to the city," the coordinator said.

Meaning teens like Diamonta will pound the pavement every Friday before curfew.

Peace ambassadors will be posted at the Inner Harbor every Friday and Saturday night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

City officials say before the new curfew law went into effect, more than 700 minors had broken the curfew law this year.

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