Maryland County to enforce juvenile curfew after deadliest month in decades
Police and local officials in a Maryland county near Washington, D.C., on Monday announced a curfew for youth after a spate of violent crimes in the community and a homicide count that reached a three-decade high last month.
For at least 30 days starting this weekend, Prince George’s County will implement a curfew for those under 17 years old from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:59 p.m. and 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday unless they are accompanied by an adult. The curfew is enforced through fines.
Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said at a news conference that there have been more than 350 carjackings this year, compared to 91 in 2019.
She argued there is a problem with the system when police are “arresting and re-arresting the same children” who she said are out committing crimes at 3 a.m.
“At this point these kids don’t just need a hug, they also need to be held accountable,” the county executive said. “They must be held accountable.”
The news conference was held after August saw 24 homicides, the single deadliest month for the Maryland county in about three decades, according to police.
On Sunday, an 18-month-old girl was shot twice in Glenn Dale, NBC Washington reported. The child survived but suffered critical injuries, authorities said.
Besides the curfew, Alsobrooks said she is working to tackle the challenge from other angles, including through funding mental health programs at schools and a summer jobs program.
“This is just one tool in the toolbox,” she said of the curfew. “I cannot stand by and continue to watch children who were shot and killed — [and children] who are not only committing crimes but harming others — and do nothing about it.”
In February, the county executive announced officials were working more closely with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in Washington, D.C., to identify repeat offenders.
Law enforcement says violent crime has risen across the country, jumping from roughly 380 per 100,000 people in 2019 to about 398 per 100,000 people in 2020, according to the FBI. Data for 2021 is set to come out this fall.
In Prince George’s County, police have investigated 80 killings this year, although there were 89 homicides last year.
Police have also responded to 211 non-fatal shootings so far this year, compared to 209 last year.
Police have recovered more than 1,000 firearms in 2022 and arrested around 2,700 offenders in connection to gun-related crimes.
Prince George’s County Police Chief Malik Aziz spoke in support of the curfew on Monday, saying violent criminals “should not be allowed to reoffend and further victimize our residents.”
“No one should have to tolerate living in fear and being a victim of crime in your own neighborhood,” Aziz said.