Prince George’s County instituting youth curfew to combat crime

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced a curfew for juveniles on Monday in an effort to address the record deadly month of August.

"I know this isn’t a popular thing to say, but the truth of the matter is, it’s a fair question: Where are their parents? Where are their aunties, where are the uncles, and other family members who are responsible?," said the county executive shortly before making the curfew announcement.

Starting this upcoming weekend and lasting for at least 30 days, those under 17-years-old will have to be home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday to Thursday and just before midnight (11:59 p.m.) to 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. That is unless there is some kind of exemption. Otherwise, the juvenile has to be with an adult.  

Alsobrooks said guardians will get a warning. Then it goes to fines, from $50 to $250. The youth could be released to Social Services if the guardian does not respond.

The county executive didn’t get a roaring applause to her Monday news conference. One man stormed out of the meeting.

"Why did we wait so late to actually initiate a curfew? The summer is over. She didn’t talk about kids bringing guns to schools, or did I miss that in my rage? You know, what’s up with that.  You know we are not talking about the issues that are really impacting people in this county and all of it is just coming out to do a glorious press conference to come up and talk to ya’ll," said Sherman Hardy, the man who stormed out (and in full disclosure, he ran against Alsobrooks in the 2022 primary and lost. He described himself as a concerned Clinton, Maryland resident.)

The curfew announcement comes after a D.C. 15-year-old killed, was among 11 people shot in Prince George’s County this Labor Day 2022 weekend. 

Police Chief Malik Aziz told reporters police cannot arrest their way out of this. There was a lot of talk at the Monday news conference about repeat offenders, especially juveniles.

Alsobrooks said juvenile arrests more than doubled from this time last year with around 430 youths arrested. The county executive noted 34 of the 84 juveniles arrested for carjacking this year had a prior gun or violent offense.

"In short, we have an accountability problem in our county. And I have heard from many of you in the community who are asking rightfully so, what I am doing to address the rise in violence crime in our county. Again it’s a reasonable question but to be clear, I want to everyone to understand,  I control one part of this system," said the County Executive.  

The county executive had made some of these same arguments before – including around the time she announced the National Harbor curfew in 2020 or just this past February, when officials launched a Violence Prevention Task Force and the Hope Collective effort.

Alsobrooks said the Hope Collective effort did bring crime down BEFORE August. However, when FOX 5 asked to see the data, we were told it wouldn’t be available until December. Alsobrooks also brought-up her summer youth programming.

Some officials who are not against the curfew, but question its effectiveness. Prince George’s County Councilmember Edward Burroughs, who attended the news conference, said, "Our young people who are engaged in carjackings, who are engaged in armed robberies, I don’t believe are simply going to abide by a curfew. It’s going to take more thought than what I heard today."

Alsobrooks also called on the States Attorney’s Office and Department of Juvenile Services to release numbers on outstanding dispositions. She wants PGPD to publish a crime data dashboard.

Prince George’s County States Attorney Aisha Braveboy told reporters she was not invited to the news conference, calling it "disappointing."

"Last year we had a 98% conviction rate for our homicides, 98%. You tell me another county in Maryland or across this country who holds people accountable for the most serious crime there is, than my office," said Braveboy.

The Prince George’s County States Attorney held her own Zoom news conference to address the county executive’s comments. Braveboy noted in order to prosecute cases, there has to be to justifiable reasons to move forward. She noted her office has to follow updated Maryland state juvenile laws and respect judges’ decisions and rulings.  

"Juvenile law has changed over the past few years. The legislature has enacted new laws that restricts when a juvenile can be held, the rights of a juvenile pre-trial and their rights, post-adjudication. We have to appreciate that because we are defenders of the law. We don’t’ always agree with it but we have to uphold the law," said Braveboy.

FOX 5 covered a juvenile sentencing hearing last month where Braveboy’s office asked for the teen charged with committing a 2021 murder when he was 12, be held in a juvenile facility. The judge allowed him to go home under supervised probation. The states attorney called on regular county leadership meetings to discuss crime – to resume.

The Prince George’s County Council Chair Calvin Hawkins was also in attendance at the Monday news conference. He vowed to hold the judiciary accountable through oversight.