BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As Baltimore Police announced that four 15-year-olds — two girls and two boys — have been arrested in connection with a Federal Hill assault on Halloween night, they also expressed frustration with the fact that repeat juvenile offenders are on the streets.
“It’s a broken juvenile criminal justice system,” Commissioner Kevin Davis said.
There has been a spike of violent acts in the city that police believe have been committed by teenagers.
On Halloween night, police say groups of teens terrorized trick-or-treaters and used bats and boards to attack people. Similar events that evening were reported in Federal Hill, on Calvert Street downtown, and on Spring Lake Way in north Baltimore.
There have also been multiple attacks by groups of juveniles at the Inner Harbor recently.
Commissioner Davis completely disagrees with those who say juveniles are getting back on the streets because of “weak cases” against them.
“I reject that,” he said.
He noted that most of the teens who were arrested, if not all, are repeat offenders, which adds to his frustration.
“Poverty, unemployment, family dysfunctions, drug addictions — all those things are very, very real in our city, but they do not excuse violent behavior by anyone,” Davis said. “Particularly juveniles. We need to all look ourselves in the mirror as a community — parents, grandparents, guardians in particular — and get a hold of these violent kids who are wreaking havoc in our city right now.”
Davis gave an example of one 16-year-old in the city who has been arrested 10 times since June 2014, including for carjacking.
“We know who they are, and if we know who they are — and the reason why we know who they is because we lock them up again and again and again — then I’m pretty damn certain that their parents and guardians and grandparents and neighbors know who the hell they are, as well,” Davis went on to say. “Step up, step forward, get a hold of these violent kids. It’s absolutely unacceptable that I have to stand up here and talk about 13 and 14-year-olds that we have to arrest again and again because our criminal justice system and our society isn’t doing what we need to be doing with these kids.”
Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer also spoke at Thursday’s press conference. Juveniles are suspected in a carjacking that occurred in his district Thursday morning.
“We cannot continue to allow this behavior to keep occurring,” he said. “It’s a small group of people… it’s the same people over and over and over that get arrested and they’re back out on the streets… how did they get to the point where they’re running around with ankle bracelets on, many of them, and still committing these offenses?”
WJZ’s Rick Ritter will have more on this story tonight on WJZ.