PG County Youth Curfew
On September 9, 2022, Prince George’s county’s youth curfew went into effect (see infographic). The curfew, which will be in effect for at least 30 days (approximately until October 9th), states that youth between the ages of 16 years old and under must not be in public spaces between the hours of 10 pm-5am EST (Sunday - Thursday) and 11:59 pm-5 am EST (Friday - Saturday).
As can be seen in the infographic provided by PG county
government officials, if the curfew order is violated then the punishment level
involves actions to keep the child safe while also getting parents more involved in monitoring their child(ren).
Although the curfew is county-wide, some cities within the county such as Bowie and Greenbelt have opted-out of implementing the curfew. In an article published by WTOP, the city of Bowie and Greenbelt have stated how their city charters’ do not require them to enforce county-wide ordinances. The cause for this curfew is a response to the high crime rates within the county involving the youth. By implementing this curfew, County Executive (C.E.) Angela Alsobrooks hopes to not only keep the youth and other community members safe but to also employ more community support from parents to monitor their children. Click the video published by NBC Washington to view C.E. Alsobrooks press conference regarding the curfew ordinance.
Will This Work?
In the press conference, C.E. Alsobrooks mentioned a very important word, “accountability”. From this curfew ordinance, accountability can be seen in police officers being accountable for the safety of the neighborhood (and the people in it), youth being accountable for their actions by not engaging in activities or being in places that can get them in trouble, and parents being accountable for the whereabouts of their child(ren). However, although this curfew sounds hopeful in ensuring everyone’s safety, safety and police are two words that don’t mesh together that well given the misconduct (and unethical actions) of police officers when these individuals are interacting with black and brown individuals within the U.S. With racism embedded in every sector within the U.S., including the police force, incorporating this type of monitoring and packaging it as “safety” seems like it will be problematic for black and brown children and their overall well-being. Overall this ordinance is giving very much #PoliceState.
So will this plan work? Well, we shall see. Since its enforcement, it has been reported that the curfew was not violated (WTOP). As a community member, reducing crime and keeping the youth safe sounds great, however the curfew seems like a temporary solution to an underlying problem such as why the youth are engaging in these criminal activities.
One question that this ordinance raises is in regards to the process with social services. If the child(dren) is taken to social services, what will the guardian need to do to retrieve their child(ren)? Is there a fine attached to this pick up; will social services do a follow up visit to check on the status of the home? Another question is what happens after 30 days? By enforcing the curfew, this ordinance may show a decrease in youth criminal activity however, a study by Kenneth Adams (2003) shows that curfews are not effective in reducing juvenile criminal activities. So what else can be done to keep our youth and communities safe since regardless of the time of the day, crime can still occur? It would be great if next steps involved community engagement activities that deter criminal behavior but we shall see what PG county officials propose as next steps once the 30 days are up.
Domien, J. (2022, September 8). Not all police in Prince George’s Co. will be enforcing curfew. WTOP. https://wtop.com/prince-georges-county/2022/09/not-all-cops-in-prince-georges-will-be-enforcing-curfew/
Barnes, S. (2022, September 9). Prince George's County Youth Curfew Enforcement to Begin Friday: How it Works. NBCWashington. https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/prince-georges-county/prince-georges-county-youth-curfew-enforcement-to-begin-friday-how-it-works/3152921/
Uliano, D. (2022, September 12). Weekend brings no curfew violations in Prince George’s Co. WTOP. https://wtop.com/prince-georges-county/2022/09/quiet-weekend-for-teen-curfew/
Adams, K. (2003). The Effectiveness of Juvenile Curfews at Crime Prevention. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 587(1), 136–159. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002716202250944