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Journal Article


Shatz DV, Zhang C, McGrath M. J. Trauma 1999; 47(6): 1013-1017.


Department of Surgery, University of Miami School of Medicine, Florida 33101, USA.


(Copyright © 1999, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins)






OBJECTIVE: As a method of crime reduction among teenagers, several cities, counties, and states across the country have enacted, or attempted to enact, curfew laws. A curfew law was successfully implemented in Dade County, Florida, in January of 1996. Although its efficacy for crime reduction has been questioned, its benefit for trauma prevention may be real. METHODS: Trauma registry data was collected retrospectively and prospectively from Dade County's Level I trauma center for all trauma victims 5 to 16 years of age. The time period spanned the 2 years before the institution of the curfew law (January 1, 1996) and the 2 years after. Total adult and pediatric trauma volumes during the 4-year period were used as comparisons, as well as juvenile traumas occurring during noncurfew hours. RESULTS: Total trauma volume did not change significantly across the 4-year period, nor did the volume among the curfew age group during noncurfew hours. The predominant mechanisms of injury during curfew hours were motor vehicle crashes and gunshots. Neither the patterns of mechanisms nor ages changed significantly during the precurfew and postcurfew eras. However, the volume of cases seen at the trauma center among the curfew age group was significantly lower with the curfew law in effect (mean, 7.0/month) than before it was in effect (mean, 9.5/month, p = 0.043). CONCLUSION: Although the overall trauma admissions and juvenile trauma admissions during the noncurfew hours remained relatively stable, juvenile trauma admissions during curfew hours dropped significantly in the 2 years after enforcement of the curfew law compared with the 2 years before the curfew law. This finding suggests that attempts to prevent late-night nonproductive street presence among teens can decrease the incidence of trauma occurrences.


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