'These kids need to be held accountable': Juvenile curfew imposed in Maryland as crime spikes
PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MARYLAND: A teenage curfew was issued on Monday, September 5, by police and local authorities in Maryland county near Washington DC, following a string of violent incidents in the area and a three-decade high in homicides last month. Prince George's County imposed a curfew for minors under the age of 17 from 10 pm to 5 am on Sunday, September 4 through Thursday, September 6, and from 11.59 pm to 5 am on Friday, September 7, and Saturday, September 8 unless they are with an adult for at least 30 days starting this weekend. Fines are used to enforce the curfew.
At a press conference, Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks reported that this year has seen over 350 carjackings, up from 91 in 2019. She said there is a flaw in the system when police are arresting and re-arresting the same juveniles who are out committing crimes at 3 in the morning. “At this point these kids don’t just need a hug, they also need to be held accountable,” the county executive said.
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Crime Press Conference with Police Chief Aziz DD on https://t.co/Pge0FayS9o— County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (@CEXAlsobrooks) September 5, 2022
A news conference was conducted after 24 killings were reported in August, making it Maryland's most deadly month in roughly three decades. In addition to the curfew, Alsobrooks stated that she is attempting to approach the problem from many aspects, such as by supporting mental health programs at schools and a summer employment program. Alsobrooks has expressed that the curfew is just one of the few weapons to fight youth crime in Maryland, stating, “This is just one tool in the toolbox. 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."
Crime on a rise in Maryland
According to the FBI, violent crime increased nationwide, rising from around 380 per 100,000 people in 2019 to nearly 398 per 100,000 people in 2020, as per law enforcement. Although there were 89 homicides in Prince George's County last year and the police have looked into 80 killings this year. In total, 211 non-fatal gunshots have been reported to police this year vs 209 last year. In 2022, the police detained over 2,700 suspects in connection with gun-related offenses and seized over 1,000 guns.
Malik Aziz, the chief of police for Prince George's County, supported the curfew in a speech, stating that violent offenders should not be permitted to re-offend and further victimize our people. Adding to that he also mentioned, “No one should have to tolerate living in fear and being a victim of crime in your own neighborhood.”