PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — At 11:59 p.m. Friday, Prince George’s County was to begin strict enforcement of a curfew for everyone 16 and younger.

The hours for the curfew are 11:59 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday. Those hours repeat Saturday night into Sunday. All other nights of the week, the curfew begins at 10 p.m.

Leaders said the curfew enforcement, which was set to take place for at least 30 days, was in response to the rise in crime and gun violence involving minors.

Some experts, including Charles Adams, Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Bowie State University, say this might not be the best strategy to reduce crime among youth.

“For example, I’m 15 years old and walking down the street after the curfew. Now, that of itself is not an offense, but what makes it an offense is I’m 16 out of a curfew. So, now I’m coming in contact with the criminal justice system when normally I would not. So, now I’m suddenly in contact with law enforcement based upon my age and the fact that this curfew,” said Adams.

Prince George’s County Police Department said it would enforce the curfew, but other departments, including those in Greenbelt and Bowie, said they don’t have the authority to enforce the county code.

Chief John Nesky with the Bowie Police Department said his officers are following a slightly different strategy with the curfew.

“If you’ve got four people — it doesn’t matter if they’re juveniles or not — walking down the middle of the street or at one o’clock in the morning, then that may warrant a stop to see if everyone’s okay, or if there’s anything that needs to be looked into further. It just won’t be a stop strictly in the course of the curfew check,” said Adams.

He emphasized the approach aligns with the county’s efforts to reduce crime involving young people but that it works better for Bowie.

“We’re trying to reduce the conversations around law enforcement of where police officers need to interact and when do police officers need to enforce especially in our youth, and especially in our youth of color,” he said.

Officers enforcing the curfew in the county will focus on educating children about it if they are stopped. The officers will ask them to go home. If a child violates the curfew again, parents and businesses where a child may be will receive a $50 fine for the first offense, $100 for the second, and $250 for the third offense and any after.

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said in a statement :

We know that a curfew will not end violence. This is just one new tool that we are using in our crime prevention efforts. We want to reach and engage parents in a different way, and get them to be better partners in supporting our children. We also need to dig a little deeper and get to the root cause of what is going on with some of our kids. This 30-day curfew will help us accomplish both of those goals.

Adams said another approach could be more effective like having more mental health resources, and working together, and addressing conflict resolution strategies to the youth.

“We have to go in and put in the work lay the foundation in these communities and build a strong relationship and partnership with not only the parents, law enforcement, school officials, business owners, faith-based organizations and really bringing everyone to the table and creating a comprehensive approach to dealing with our children,” he said. “The issue is we don’t have enough mental health professionals to address the domain. So I think we need to be very intentional about offering and speaking to our kids about mental health issues, about the stress about the trauma, about how to deal with conflict.”

There are a few exceptions to the curfew, including if a child is accompanied by an adult if a child is going to or from work if a child is exercising his/her First Amendment right, if the child is running an errand for a parent, and if he/she is heading home after an activity.