Juvenile crime in our nation’s capitol is becoming a growing concern, and the recent arrest of a 12-year-old boy who’s been charged in at least nine separate carjackings and robberies is yet another indication that D.C. officials have no idea or plan to address the crisis.
According to authorities, between March 21st and April 29th the pre-teen, often accompanied by an accomplice, preyed on multiple victims in southeast D.C.; pointing a gun and demanding their wallets, purses, and car keys.
On April 17, two suspects approached a person outside their car in the 700 block of 7th Street Southeast. The boy pulled a gun and demanded keys, and took off in the victim’s vehicle.
Just days later, on April 20, around 10:15 p.m., the boy got out of a vehicle driven by another suspect and approached people who were in their car in the 2400 block of Pomeroy Road, Southeast. The boy showed a gun and demanded car keys. The victims gave up their keys, and the boy took off in the stolen vehicle, followed by the other suspect in another car.
Police said a little more than an hour later, around 11:45 p.m., the two suspects approached a person who had just gotten out of their car in the 2300 block of Pitts Place, Southeast. They again pulled a gun and demanded keys. The suspects attempted to get away in the stolen car, but were not successful. They ran off on foot, and tried to rob two other people on the same block. They once again showed a gun and took property, leaving the scene in the victim’s vehicle, police said.
On April 24, around 8:20 p.m., the two suspects were back on Pomeroy Road, Southeast. They once again tried to steal a car using a gun, but did not succeed. The suspects then approached two other people in the same block. This time, they got away in the stolen car.
Authorities haven’t said if the 12-year-old was on their radar before the string of robberies and carjackings, nor have they released any information about the pre-teen’s alleged accomplice. While there are still plenty of unanswered questions about this particular case, it’s also just a small part of a much bigger problem. There were more than 400 juvenile arrests for violent crime in the District last year, and sadly seeing 12-year-olds accused of committing very serious offenses is becoming much more common. In fact, on the same day that the Metropolitan Police Department announced the arrest of this 12-year-old in connection with the series of carjackings and armed robberies, they arrested another 12-year-old for a short-lived crime spree.
In a Thursday press release, Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department announced the arrest of a 12-year-old male they say attempted to rob an establishment, attempted to carjack an individual and committed a robbery all in a 10-minute span on Wednesday.
The press release stated that the suspect walked into an establishment at 4:36 p.m. in southeast DC and demanded property, but the employee did not comply, and the suspect fled the scene.
Two minutes later, the 12-year-old tried to open the door of a vehicle and attempted to carjack another individual who also did not comply and sped away.
At 4:46 p.m., police say the suspect demanded money from another victim who complied, and responding officers were able to make an arrest.
It’s unclear whether that particular 12-year-old used a gun or another weapon in the commission of his crimes, but even if he was unarmed during his brief crime spree it’s still disturbing to see someone so young engaged in serious crimes like this. As Fox 5 in D.C. reports, stories like these are becoming all too common, and yet prosecutors are still loathe to do much about it.
D.C.’s Attorney General Brian Schwalb hosted another listening session Tuesday – this time in Ward 5.
The goal is to inform residents about the work his office is tasked with and also allow the community to share their thoughts and concerns.
FOX 5 asked the AG why kids and teens aren’t facing serious consequences for their violent actions.
He mentioned we need to ask ourselves why young people are getting in trouble in the first place, look at the root causes, and give them mercy.
“We also are committed in the juvenile system to treat kids like kids and that we give kids what the law requires, which is a chance of rehabilitation and going on to live lives of success and independence,” Schwalb said. “Kids are different than adults and our job as the attorney general of the city is to keep the city safe, but also make sure we stay true to our obligation to young people.”
“I don’t think kids should be treated as adults,” Schwalb continued. “Kids are kids and when you’re talking about teenagers particular – their brains are developing, their minds are developing, and their biologically prone to make mistakes – that’s what we’ve all done as we’ve grown up.”
I don’t think we should be locking 12-year-olds up for the rest of their lives for armed robberies either, but it’s pretty clear that D.C.’s current approach is failing to deliver any sort of consequences or rehabilitation for many young offenders. Not only are the parents of these kids failing them, but the system that’s supposed to serve as a backstop is failing them as well.
There’s no amount of gun control that’s going to stop the rise in violent crime among juveniles who are too young to legally acquire a firearm to begin with, but that seems to be the District’s go-to “solution” when it comes to public safety. D.C. politicians would much rather infringe on the right to armed self-defense than recognize and respond to the damage done by their own reckless criminal justice policies, and to be honest that’s probably the preference of most D.C. voters as well. Residents may be unhappy with the increasing number of juvenile criminals, but as long as they keep voting for the soft-on-crime candidates that foster an environment conducive to criminality, they’re going to get more of the same.