During a Monday news conference, Maryland’s Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced strict enforcement of a teen curfew following a rise in violent crime.
Alsobrooks reported the arrest of 430 juveniles this year, nearly double compared to last year.
“At this point, these kids don’t just need a hug, they need to be held accountable,” Alsobrooks said.
While the curfew already exists in Maryland law, it has not been strictly enforced since 1995, WTOP reported. The teen curfew will be enforced beginning next weekend and will continue for at least 30 days.
Teens under 17 must be off the streets from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:59 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday through Saturday.
Parents of repeat offenders could be fined up to $250 and have their children turned over to the Department of Social Services.
Alsobrooks stated that the goal of the strict enforcement was not to burden law enforcement but to protect teens.
The county executive called on parents and family members to “step up and do their part.” She stated, “I know it’s not a popular thing to say, but it’s a fair question: Where are their parents? Where are the aunties, where are the uncles and other family members who are responsible for them?”
Alsobrooks reported a 52% increase over last year in carjackings. More than half of the 350 carjackings this year were perpetrated by “armed and dangerous children,” Alsobrooks said. Only 61 of the carjackings were committed by adults.
According to the county’s data, most of the juveniles who committed carjacking crimes were repeat offenders.
Prince George’s County Police Chief Malik Aziz stated that 55 of the 84 juveniles apprehended for carjackings had prior arrests.
“The vast number of juveniles are out doing the right thing and living a meaningful and positive live in Prince George’s County,” Aziz said. “These are the outliers that are causing our residents to fear so much crime in our own neighborhoods.”
Alsobrooks noted that August was the deadliest month the county had seen in decades. Authorities investigated 24 deaths in August and noted a rise in violent crime by repeat offenders. However, the county executive also reported that, despite the spike in August, homicides are still down 15% compared to last year.
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