Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced Monday the county will enforce a curfew for all minors after seeing juvenile arrests almost double in the past year.
August was the single deadliest month in Prince George’s County’s history, Alsobrooks said. The county has had more than 350 carjackings this year — a 52 percent increase from last year.
“Somebody has got to take responsibility for these armed and dangerous children,” Alsobrooks said. “It is not just the police and not just the government.”
Starting this weekend, teenagers under the age of 17 must be in their homes from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11:59 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays unless they have an exemption or are accompanied by an adult.
A warning will be sent to parents or guardians if their child is out past curfew. If the parent doesn’t respond to the warning, the child will be released to social services.
If parents and business owners allow children to remain on the premises past curfew, they will face a $50 fine on the first offense, $100 on the second and $250 for subsequent offenses.
The Prince George’s County Police Department has made 438 juvenile arrests this year. Prince George’s County Police Chief Malik Aziz said police have arrested 84 juveniles for carjacking. Out of the 84 juveniles, 55 have prior arrests and 34 have arrests for violent crimes
“We cannot arrest our way out of this,” Aziz said. “We tried that once upon a time, so we need a total solution.”
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Alsobrooks said parents should be held accountable if their children are committing crimes early in the morning.
To mitigate this crime spike, Prince George’s County set up the Summer Youth Enrichment program in summer 2022 for people to receive jobs. The program employed more than 6,000 people between the ages of 16 and 22 this summer.
The county also started the Hope in Action Anti-Violence Project which provided mental health services, after-school programming, mentorship and reentry programs to youth and young adults.
“These kids don’t just need a hug,” Alsobrooks said. “They also need to be held accountable.”
The county will work with the court system to understand how minors are being held accountable for their crimes, Alsobrooks said. She also urged the courts, juvenile services department, prosecutors and the police department to release numbers on outstanding or pending cases and dispositions and juvenile arrests.
Prince George’s County Council chair Calvin S. Hawkins II said he wants the county council to have oversight powers to understand why there is an uptick in teenage crime.
“To some of you judges, who are letting these individuals out, you’re going to have to deal with this county council,” Hawkins said. “We don’t want you presiding over those kinds of cases that are putting perpetrators on the street and increasing the crime in our community.”