In the wake of what they called the deadliest month in county history, a group of Maryland officials has declared a temporary curfew for children.
“You should know — and I believe this is absolutely astounding — that August was the single deadliest month in Prince George’s County’s history,” Angela Alsobrooks, the county executive, said during a news conference on Monday.
The county’s curfew, announced during the news conference, will require children and teens under 17 to be home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:59 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
“The government alone cannot solve this problem,” Alsobrooks said, Fox News reported. “Somebody has got to take responsibility for these armed and dangerous children, and it is not just the police and not just the government.”
Police in the area have arrested “an eye-popping” 430 juveniles, the county executive said, according to Washington’s WRC-TV. Of those arrests, 80 were for carjackings, 55 had prior offenses and 34 had prior gun or violent crime offenses, the outlet said.
So far in 2021, there have been more than 350 carjackings this year in the county — a 52 percent increase over last year, Alsobrooks said, according to WRC. In 2019, there were 91 carjackings.
The county executive said half of the 84 juveniles arrested this year for carjackings were under the age of 15.
Alsobrooks said community programs have been created to provide more than 6,000 summer jobs for those between 16 and 22, as well as mental health and addiction facilities, according to Fox News. However, she said, no summer job or government program is going to be able to stop the children who are out at 3 and 4 a.m. committing crimes.
“These kids don’t just need a hug; they also need to be held accountable,” Alsobrooks told reporters, according to The Washington Post. “I know this isn’t the popular thing to say, but the truth of the matter is, 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?”
“It ought to be clear to everyone that something is not working,” she said, WRC reported. “We are arresting and rearresting the same children and adults who are committing crimes in our community.”
“There is a whole culture of fearlessness that is developing because the kids believe that nothing will happen to them.”
Crime Press Conference with Police Chief Aziz DD on https://t.co/Pge0FayS9o
— County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (@CEXAlsobrooks) September 5, 2022
Alsobrooks, a Democrat, praised members of the police force for doing their job. “The problem is what happens after the arrest or, in our case, what hasn’t happened or doesn’t happen,” she said, according to the Post.
Police Chief Malik Aziz also spoke during the news conference and alluded to officers being forced to play a game of “catch and release” with people who are taken in on criminal charges but not kept in jail.
“Only so long can you have police going through a system where they continually arrest and bring people back around in a circle to release to further victimize residents of our county,” Aziz said, according to the Post.
In response, Aisha Braveboy, Prince George’s County state’s attorney, later spoke out in her agency’s defense, saying her department holds people accountable for serious crimes.
“Sometimes we disagree and we are upset with the decision of those in the justice system. But our system of justice only works if we all respect everyone’s role and we understand the law,” she said, according to WRC.
The curfew will begin this weekend and will last for at least 30 days, officials said. Parents and guardians will first be warned and then fined and cited, according to WRC.
Owners of establishments that let children stay during curfew hours will face fines of $50 for a first offense, going up incrementally for subsequent offenses up to $250, Fox News reported.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.