PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — The county executive said police will start stricter enforcement of a long-standing curfew that’s on the books in Maryland in an effort to curb violence that has been rampant for the past few month.
Angela Alsobrooks said at a news conference that as of Monday, officers had arrested 430 children for crimes in 2022. Eighty-four of those children are accused of being responsible for carjackings in Prince George’s County, with many of them having prior arrests for guns or violent crimes.
“These are children committing these crimes targeting other children in targeting adults,” Alsobrooks emphasized. “Armed and dangerous children. Those are two very, very difficult words for me to put together.”
As stricter enforcement of the curfew goes into effect the weekend of Sept. 9, Alsorooks called on parents and other relatives to do their part, especially when you consider the fact that August was the “deadliest month” in the history of Prince George’s County.
“This law is to protect our children. Children 17 years old and younger are not legally responsible for themselves, neither are police,”Alsobrooks explained. “Their parents are responsible and their families are responsible for keeping them safe.”
Some community members said they think the curfew enforcement could lead to unfair targeting of people and racial profiling. One of those people was Sherman Hardy, a candidate for county executive, who attended the news conference.
“Are we gonna pull over every child that we see walking by? Where are we gonna hold them?” Hardy asked. “What are we going to do if the parent doesn’t answer? Now, we have, we’re talking about bringing in social services. Do they have enough people?”
District 8 Council Member Edward Burroughs is doubtful that the young people carrying out crimes in the community will abide by the curfew.
“Our social services budget and our family services budgets are completely inadequate,” Burroughs explained. The county executive made a comment that the problem starts after the arrest, I could not disagree with her more on that. The problem starts well before the arrest.”
Dionne Medley, who has lived in Prince George’s County her whole life, is among those who think the curfew should have been enforced earlier. As an Uber driver, she often fears for her safety.
“I definitely think it’s gonna help. It’s putting the responsibility on the parents for them to be in at a certain time,” Medley said. “If the child keeps getting picked up after curfew, then the parents have no control.”