In numerous cities and towns, curfews often start around 11 p.m. or midnight and end at 5 or 6 a.m. the next day.
The town of Williamsport's curfew starts at 10:30 p.m., but doesn't say when it ends. Town attorney Robert Kuczynski, who drafted the 1972 ordinance, said last week that the implied end time is "the daylight hours."
"It wouldn't present a problem," he said of the gap in the law. "You'd use common sense."
Four years ago, the town of Hancock passed its own curfew.
At the time, Councilman Darwin Mills lobbied for the law as a way to keep young people from congregating on streets late at night.
Councilman Greg Yost said no then, and still is opposed.
"I'm a firm believer in little government," he said last week. "It's not government's job to be a kid's parent."
Yost said one aspect of the law that bothers him is that a young person needs a note from an adult to go to a store on a family errand, for example.
Although the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks made much of America more wary and watchful, Yost said his view hasn't changed enough to support a curfew.
"I haven't seen any teenage terrorists," he said.
Terrorism hasn't reached Boonsboro, either, but over the last few years, vandalism has, particularly at Shafer Memorial Park.
In September 2003, the town council heard that people had defecated on a table, damaged and later stole a pavilion door and left behind a variety of refuse, from liquor bottles to blankets.
Town Manager John Kendall sent letters to four teenagers' parents, warning them about loitering and trespassing. The letters did not accuse the teens of causing the damage.
Around the same time, the mother of a boy who was threatened and assaulted asked the town council to enact a curfew.
In the audience, a Washington County Sheriff's Department deputy said it couldn't be done, calling curfews unconstitutional and "martial law."
Last week, Kendall said the curfew idea never went anywhere, but the vandalism stopped.
"The letters seem to have done it ...," he said. "We must have gotten the word out."
Police officials said they use a reasoned approach when dealing with young people who stay out late.
Anderson said Martinsburg Police try to be "low-key." They start with a warning if it's obvious a child isn't supposed to be out.
"A kid may say he's going to get pop at 7-Eleven," he said. "We may let them get pop and go home."
He said an officer may watch a child head home or even drive the child home, then tell a parent, "You need to be aware of this."
"If it's close (to curfew time), we direct them home, with not even a warning," Hancock Police Chief Donald Gossage said.
None of the police officials said juvenile loitering was more than a periodic problem that gets worse in the summer, when school's out.
Hagerstown changed its law in October to give police officers more enforcement power.
Before, officers couldn't detain anyone, Smith said. They had to take a teenager's word on who he is, how old he is and where he lives. If the child appeared to have violated the curfew, an officer could send a certified letter to the home later.
Now, officers may arrest a child because a curfew violation has been upgraded to a misdemeanor, Smith said.
Also, the age cutoff was lowered from 17 to 16, which better matches other state guidelines, such as the driving age, he said.
"It will be effective," Smith said.
The old ordinance's bureaucracy and inefficiency frustrated officers and may have dissuaded some from enforcing it, he said.
Offenders in Williamsport may be fined anywhere from $5 to $25, while more recent ordinances impose heavier penalties.
Juvenile offenders in Hagerstown may be fined up to $500 and may be prosecuted further by the Department of Juvenile Justice.
Chambersburg, Pa., charges $25 to $300 per offense, with the possibility of up to five days in jail if the fine isn't paid.
Sgt. John Phillippy of the Chambersburg Police Department said non-payment could also send the case to a collection agency and lead to the child being placed in a supervised first-offender program.
Modern laws also hold parents and guardians responsible.
An adult who knowingly lets a child violate Hagerstown's curfew would be a guilty of a misdemeanor carrying a fine up to $500 and a jail sentence up to 90 days.
Martinsburg imposes on parents a fine of $100 to $500 and a jail term up to 30 days.
Parents have paid fines, but never have been sent to jail, Anderson said.
Smith said Hagerstown considered one other measure in its ordinance: fining the owners of businesses where young people hang out during curfew hours.
That provision - which Smith said has been used in Baltimore, but only sporadically - was left out.