Youth curfew zones in Prince George’s Co. likely to expand beyond National Harbor after council action

A sign indicating that a youth curfew is in effect is seen at National Harbor in Prince George's County, Maryland. (WTOP/Matt Kaufax)

The police chief in Prince George’s County, Maryland, now has the authority to create and enforce additional youth curfew zones under a resolution passed Tuesday by the county council.

Under the resolution, business owners throughout the county can request Chief of Police Malik Aziz to create and enforce a curfew for kids aged 16 and under, just like the one established last week at National Harbor by County Executive Angela Alsobrooks’ emergency declaration.

The curfews can begin no earlier than 5 p.m. and last no later than 5 a.m. and would only apply to kids not accompanied by an adult. The resolution takes effect immediately, the council said.

“We want to allow other commercial property owners in the county to apply for a curfew zone if they feel it’s needed,” Council Chair Jolene Ivey said in a news release. “Our biggest priority is making sure we’re in partnership with the business community, law enforcement, and the residents of our county who have all been strong supporters of these measures.”

Tuesday’s resolution will fill the gap as a more permanent version of the law moves through the legislative process, according to the council. The Juvenile Curfew Bill was originally drafted as emergency legislation, but that stipulation was stripped after concerns it didn’t have enough support to meet the higher, eight-vote threshold to pass, a county council member told WTOP.

The Juvenile Curfew Bill will be scheduled for public hearing and a final vote later in May, and will only take effect after 45 days. A council member told WTOP that Tuesday’s resolution, which is similar to the bill, is not as legally strong as the bill will be, and could potentially be challenged.

To apply for a curfew zone, business owners have to meet certain criteria, such as obtaining a letter of support from the council member who represents the area.

Officials implemented the curfew at National Harbor after rowdy scenes earlier this month, when about 800 young people there were fighting, shoplifting, illegally smoking and engaging in other criminal behavior, Aziz said.

It was met with mixed reaction from locals.

WTOP’s John Domen contributed to this report. 

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Thomas Robertson

Thomas Robertson is an Associate Producer and Web Writer/Editor at WTOP. After graduating in 2019 from James Madison University, Thomas moved away from Virginia for the first time in his life to cover the local government beat for a small daily newspaper in Zanesville, Ohio.

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