Crime and Courts

Teens Talk Crime With Law Enforcement at Prince George's Council Meeting

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Prince George’s County Council members invited teens to discuss crime prevention and the alarming rise in carjackings at their legislative meeting Tuesday.

Juvenile-involved homicides have declined in recent years, but other crimes are on the rise.

“Carjackings is perplexing and challenging to all of us, and it’s been on the rise,” Prince George’s County Police Chief Malik Aziz said.

Last year, 117 juveniles were charged as adults in carjackings, and to date this year, 26 juveniles have been arrested and charged in carjackings.

State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy turned the Council chambers into a classroom of sorts, presenting a scenario of three teens involved in a carjacking. One drove the other two and never got out of the car but all three were eventually caught. Most in the room were surprised to learn all three involved would eventually be charged as adults.

“And you can serve up to 30 years in prison,” Braveboy said. “That’s the reality. And so, you will do a mandatory, if you have a weapon, five years.”

They also talked about the opportunities to avoid the slippery slope to a conspiracy charge – a plethora of county programs from athletics to law enforcement careers. But young people must buy into them.

“There are students in our generation who don’t like talking to the police,” Oxon Hill High School student Kynnedi Sheppard said.

She pointed to stereotypes as a cause and different kinds of interactions as a possible solution.

“If we can both meet each other halfway, like the sheriff said, I feel like I will be able to overcome that fear of talking to the police,” she said.

Family-based contributors to crime, like abuse and poverty, must be addressed as well.

The discussion in the Council chambers was part of “student takeover day,” a full day of interaction among students and county government. In later sessions there were exchanges on everything from litter to wages to development.

“All the adults were engaged with everybody, and I feel like a lot of students took a lot of information from this,” Oxon Hill High School student Theona Mkam said.

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