An 11-year-old accused of stealing at least 16 cars. A 12-year-old shot at a football game, apparently by a teenager. Two people killed and 28 others injured at a block party in a shooting where one of the accused was just 14 years old.


Violent crime has always made headlines, but it is all the more alarming when kids and teenagers are involved, either as victims or suspects or both. In Maryland, the number of kids and teens involved in carjackings and gun violence has raised fears among the public and concern among officials since 2020, despite state data showing a drop in overall youth violence over the past decade.

At times like this, advocates, police and other officials are often heard–but rarely the youths themselves. So NPR’s Michel Martin spoke with a diverse group of about half a dozen teens incarcerated for violent crimes in Baltimore and rural Maryland. Most agreed to speak on the condition that only their initials be used. This is what they had to say.

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