**FILE** Yellow police tape on the East Plaza with the Capitol dome in the background on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
**FILE** Yellow police tape on the East Plaza with the Capitol dome in the background on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The holiday weekend ended with gun violence and murder in Prince George’s County and D.C. In all, 10 people were shot and four lives were lost in Prince George’s over the three-day holiday weekend marking the deadliest month in the county in over three decades. The rippling effect of gun violence occurred all over the U.S. In Chicago, 55 people were reportedly shot, 11 fatally, while 10 people were killed and 23 injured in shooting incidents in Philadelphia. Mass shootings, where four or more people were shot and killed, occurred in Norfolk, Va., Charleston, S.C., Birmingham, Ala., and, the deadliest, in St. Paul, Minn.

Amazingly, police officials all over are reporting a reduction in gun violence compared to past years, but sadly, the ages of the victims and the perpetrators are also lower. In Prince George’s, a 15-year-old was shot and killed in an incident at a 7-11 in District Heights, and a 1-year-old baby girl was shot in her apartment in Lanham, Md.

Most residents we spoke to support Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks’s decision to reinstate a curfew for children 17 and under. “Something,” she said, “is not working,” noting that the same children and adults are being arrested and rearrested for committing crimes in Prince George’s County. Far too often, she said, the carjackings being perpetrated are by children. Of the 430 kids arrested this year alone, 84 were for carjacking, 55 had prior offenses, 34 were for gun or violent crimes and half of those arrested for carjacking were under 15 years old.

These are “armed and dangerous children” committing crimes against other children and adults, Alsobrooks reported. “Somebody has got to take responsibility,” she said, “and it’s not the police or the government.”

The question she asked is what many others also echo: “Where are their parents? Where are the aunties, uncles, and other family members that are supposed to protect them?” 

This curfew will not reduce crime. It is meant to protect children from becoming victims of crime and to keep them safe and away from the streets that lure them. It is intended to hold parents accountable. These are your children we all cry for when something bad happens to them.

It should not be unpopular to suggest that parents need to be held accountable for keeping their children safe. Fingers are readily pointed to the elected officials, the police, the government and even the church, for allowing crime to take over our communities. But when it comes to juvenile crime, it all begins at home and neither the county executive nor anyone else should back away from reminding parents of their responsibility.

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