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Teenagers Restricted At Increasing Number Of Malls Nationwide

Garden State Plaza

The Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jersey, is the latest major shopping center to require adults to accompany teenagers in the evenings as a result of a rise in disruptive behavior.

The 2.1M SF mall is implementing a requirement for all visitors under the age of 18 to have adult supervision on Fridays and Saturdays after 5 p.m., NBC New York reported.

"Like many shopping centers across the country, we have experienced an increase in disruptive behavior that violates the center’s code of conduct by a small minority of younger visitors," the mall's owner, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, posted on its website. "Taking this extra step in our security measures will ensure a pleasant and safe environment for our families and every member of our community, as well as our retail partners."

The policy states that police officers and mall security guards will start checking IDs of mall visitors, and unaccompanied youths anywhere on the property will be asked to contact a parent or guardian and told to wait in designated waiting zones.

The new rules mirror similar action taken at other shopping destinations around the country, amid growing concerns about brawls and violence, some of which are posted on social media.

"I get it, there are a lot of TikTok pranks filmed at malls and they get disruptive," Nicole Larson, manager of national retail research for Colliers, told CoStar. "But teens usually have their learners permit around 15 to 16, and to me this will leave a sour taste in their minds and will likely cause them to take their future dollars elsewhere."

This week, a new policy at The Fashion District Mall in Philadelphia came into effect, with all those under 18 now required to have an adult with them starting at 2 p.m. every day. At Simon Property Group's Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, teens have been subject to a curfew of 3 p.m. since 2021. In 2022, Atlantic Station, also in Atlanta, put in place a similar curfew, with a requirement that no adult accompany more than four young people. A massive brawl had broken out in 2021 at the mall that involved 300 youths.

American Dream Mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey, has a requirement of adult supervision of children under 16 after 4 p.m. The efforts come amid concerns about crime at the centers. Mall of America, American Dream’s sister mall in Minnesota, has ramped up security measures following shootings at the center, and at one point had metal detectors in place, CoStar reported.