PG County Enforces Teen Curfew

Angela Alsobrooks at the press conference for the pg county curfew

Angela Alsobrooks at the press conference for the pg county curfew

On September 8th, Prince George’s County imposed a teen curfew for at least 30 days, hoping to curb the rise in teen crime. Teens 16 and under are required to stay inside from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays and from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. on weekends.

Teens caught outside during curfew hours will be warned by police, and parents may have to pay civil fines of up to $250 if their child doesn’t abide by the first warning. According to NBC Washington, ¨Officers will wait with children for up to two hours while trying to contact a guardian before transferring them to the Department of Social Services.” Exceptions are made for those going directly to work, school, practice, home, or accompanied by a guardian. 

“Police officers will focus on education first, educating youth on the curfew and telling them to go home,” tweets County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. “We are asking our village to please help us keep our children safe.” 

Crime rates have sadly spiked this past year, with 62 homicides and 430 juvenile arrests throughout PG County. Police Deputy Chief James McCreary describes it as a “tragic trend of gun violence” to the Washington Post. After 9 deaths over Labor Day weekend,  Angela Alsobrooks stated that “[Teens] need to be held accountable.” Alsobrooks instated the curfew just days after that devastating weekend.

Yet many people question if the curfew was enough to truly prevent the increase in crime. 

Ridhwan Abdullahi, a sophomore at ERHS, says “I do not feel the curfew is effective because it doesn’t apply to older ages.”

Some students believe the curfew acted only as a Band-Aid. Bowie student Jaden Libby-Gonzaga, 15, called the curfew “a short-term solution.”

Dominic Parker, 14, reminds WTOP that “People could do it in the day.” Crimes are still prevalent during the day, and an evening curfew would not be able to affect those numbers.

Others feel that this curfew is a great solution to help lower the rising rates of crime, like ERHS parent George Barmer who says, ¨This curfew is a good temporary solution to a problem that has to stop. Even if many teens don’t like it they need to find some way to help lower the crime rates and that is an effective way.” 

Greenbelt City Councilman, Ric Gordon, believes that the curfew will be effective overall, but notes that “not every municipality has to go by county-wide codes. For example, Greenbelt doesn’t necessarily have to enforce that code.” 

Gordon suggests some strategies to help prevent crime among teens. He encourages local organizations to set up activities for young people after school, so teens are less likely to engage in harmful conduct during that time. Parents can also help stop crimes by ensuring that their children are attending school because most crimes committed by teens happen during school hours. Gordon also prompts teens to be a good influence on peers. 

If you see something that concerns you, report it. He asserts that no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, stopping a small crime now might prevent a more serious crime later. When you are out with friends or family, encourage them to do the right thing.

Prince George’s county curfew information sheet