Prince George’s County is set to begin enforcing a curfew for children 16 and under Friday at 11:59 p.m.
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced the plan Monday and described it as an effort to keep kids safe while fighting rising crime rates.
The teen curfew enforcement plan will be in effect for at least 30 days, Alsobrooks said.
Some community activists oppose the curfew. The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland said: “Unnecessary police interactions and exposure to the Department of Social Services harms Black and brown children."
Here's what families need to know about the curfew.
What’s the Meaning of the Prince George's County Youth Curfew?
The curfew means children 16 and under must be inside — not in a public place — during specified hours, with limited exceptions.
When Are the Prince George's County Curfew Hours?
Young people must be inside between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and between 11:59 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
What Are the Penalties for Violating the Prince George’s County Teen Curfew?
Police officers will enforce the curfew and notify parents or guardians if a young person is out too late.
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, according to a flyer from the county.
The first time a teen is found violating the curfew, the penalty would be a written notice and warning, the county said.
If a child violates the curfew again, potential penalties escalate to $50 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense and $250 for third and subsequent offenses.
Are There Exceptions to the Curfew?
Yes. The county lists these exceptions:
- If a child is accompanied by a parent/guardian or authorized adult.
- If a child is on an errand as directed by a parent through 12:30 a.m.
- If a child is exercising First Amendment rights
- If a child is returning home within one hour and on a direct route from school, religious or voluntary association activity, or public entertainment like a movie, play or sporting event
- If a child is at or heading to/from a place of employment
- With parent content, the child is engaged in interstate travel
Why Is Prince George’s County Enforcing a Teen Curfew?
Alsobrooks says she is responding to the county's rising crime rate, particularly among young people.
Some state officials and community activists question if it will curb the surge in juvenile crime. Others say something has to be done. One community activist told News4 the curfew could save lives.
Alsobrooks fired back at critics of the policy in a tweet that said she’s responding to residents who have asked officials to do more to protect children.