Teen-related disturbances decreased due to the youth escort policy implementation.
Two years ago, East Towne as West Towne malls applied their policy regarding youth escort. Since then, as reported by mall representatives, a decrease in incidents involving unaccompanied youngsters has been noticed.
According to the policy from 2017, teenage visitors are not allowed to enter the mall after 4 p.m. without a parent or a guardian that is at least 21 years old. This request refers to both malls except the stores with an entrance from the outside of the mall.
The mall representatives claimed this policy would cut down the number of disturbances related to the growing number of teenagers hanging unsupervised at the malls. On the other hand, we have Michael Johnson, CEO at Boys and Girls Club, believing that the policy is pushing kids away from the malls as well as from the public spaces.
According to him, this program will lead to increased crime. Malls are not only shopping places for teenagers but also places where they find ways to engage. However, it’s the part of the job of the city and shopping center managers to make the malls supervised and safe public places for kids.
The policy is implemented due to store owners’ complaints regarding juvenile fights and disturbances in the mall area.
Despite some rising concerns expressed by community members and retailers regarding the impact on their business, the policy will stay in place at both malls.
There were also cases where customers were attacked. Since the policy has been implemented, the amount of teenage-related calls has decreased except for some peripheral areas like parking lots.
From the police officials’ perspective, it’s still good to have this kind of policy in place since police calls from both malls have dropped from 58 in August 2016 to 41 at the same time this year.
The fact that the policy is in place doesn’t mean the situation isn’t going to escalate elsewhere. That’s why the police will continue to provide safety, keeping an eye on the neighborhood areas and parking lots.