Jessica Costescu reports for the Washington Free Beacon on a disturbing trend in the nation’s capital.

A Washington, D.C., teenager who went on a days-long robbing spree last month cannot be charged as an adult and will thus avoid significant punishment, the latest example of a juvenile crime surge that critics say the city refuses to take seriously.

D.C. police in late August arrested five teenagers who were caught on video attempting to carjack a man they followed using a different stolen vehicle. For one of the suspects—a 13-year-old girl—that incident came at the tail end of a four-day string of robberies, which allegedly saw her commit another carjacking, among other thefts. While those charges could lead to decades of prison time for an adult offender, the female suspect and her four accomplices were all charged as juveniles, as only some 16- and 17-year-olds can be tried as adults in the nation’s capital. As a result, one of the suspects was released immediately, while the others will face more lenient sentences—D.C.’s juvenile justice system has no mandatory minimums.

The ordeal reflects D.C.’s ongoing juvenile crime surge, an issue that local experts and crime victims say the city is failing to combat. More than 63 percent of D.C. carjacking arrests this year have involved juveniles, according to a city database, and a 14-year-old district resident was charged with felony murder in July. D.C. attorney general Brian Schwalb (D.) has nonetheless defended his emphasis on rehabilitation “restorative justice” when it comes to juvenile crime, saying during an April town hall that “kids are kids” and should not “be treated as adults.” Earlier this summer, Schwalb opposed a measure to expand pretrial detention for dangerous juveniles.

For former advisory neighborhood commissioner Denise Rucker Krepp, a D.C. Democrat, Schwalb’s approach emboldens violent criminals.