UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — Officials in a Maryland county near the nation’s capital that has had its deadliest month in decades say they will strictly enforce a curfew aimed at keeping teens off the streets at night.
WTOP-FM reports that Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks made the announcement Monday during a Labor Day weekend in which at least four people were killed by gun violence in the county, including a 15-year-old from Washington, D.C., killed during a shooting at a convenience store Saturday night. Another 15-year-old who was wounded in the same shooting is in critical condition, and a baby girl who was shot in an apartment in Glenn Dale remains hospitalized.
County police investigated 24 killings in the month of August alone.
Alsobrooks said strict enforcement of the curfew will take effect starting next weekend and last for at least the next 30 days. The curfew requires teens under 17 to be off the streets between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and between 11:59 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The curfew is allowed under existing Maryland law.
During a news conference, Alsobrooks pointed to an “eye-popping” 430 arrests of juveniles this year — nearly double the number last year.
“At this point, these kids don’t just need a hug, they need to be held accountable,” Alsobrooks said. “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?”
The last time the youth curfew was strongly enforced was in 1995, but Alsobrooks said current circumstances warrant bringing it back.
Even with the spike in killings in August, homicides in the county are down 15% compared to last year, according to county data.
“But the truth of the matter is, we are still seeing concerning levels of crime” including a spike in carjackings often carried out by what she called “armed and dangerous children.”
Of the 84 juveniles arrested for carjacking offenses this year, 55 had prior arrests and 34 had prior arrests for a previous violent crime or a gun offense, according to Prince George’s County Police Chief Malik Aziz. He called the number of juveniles who are being repeatedly arrested “deeply troubling.”