Reporting Mike Krauser
NORTH RIVERSIDE, Ill. (CBS) – A West suburban shopping mall is telling teenagers to find another place to hang out at night on the weekend.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports North Riverside Park Mall is the first in the Chicago area to require kids 17 and under to have an adult escort – someone 21 or older – after 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Marketing director Lidia Darkova said the mall has become a hangout for teenagers, and they’re not typically shopping.
“We have a lot of youth that just use the mall as a gathering place. They don’t necessarily shop, and they kind of deter shoppers from coming in and spending money,” she said.
The mall was also worried about flash mobs.
“A couple of weeks ago – maybe even a month ago – this was on the news about youth organizing a flash mob to hit several shopping centers around Chicagoland. And then we got wind that they were coming to our center,” Darkova said. “The police were being very proactive. When youth started coming into our parking lot, they saw the police presence, and they all left. So we avoided an … incident.”
Those 17 and under can still go to the mall’s movie theater after 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Darkova said more than 80 malls in the U.S. have similar policies, and she said one shopping center they visited reported a jump in sales after implementing an escort policy for teens.
The mall has hired additional security guards to man the entrances, asking for IDs.