Young and youngish-looking shoppers will need ID to get into the Cherry Hill Mall on Thursday, as local police take steps to prevent chaos at the South Jersey shopping center.
Anyone 17 or younger will have to be escorted by an adult on Dec. 26 between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. if they want to be admitted to the mall, according to a statement issued this week by the Cherry Hill Police.
“Over the last few years, malls nationwide have seen an increase in the number of unattended juveniles that are dropped off at retail shopping centers creating disturbances and engaging in criminal behavior,” said the statement issued by police on Dec. 22. “Parents and guardians should not be dropping off their children unsupervised at retail shopping centers.”
In 2017, more than 700 teens swarmed the Cherry Hill Mall on the day after Christmas. Five minors were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after a melee broke out in the food court. Two videos posted on Facebook showed a large number of teens inside the mall. One of the videos showed a young male kicking the glass door of a store while others are standing around. Many Facebook commenters described it as a flash mob.
In 2016, mob skirmishes broke out at malls in Connecticut, Colorado, New York and Ohio, according to an NBC News report.
According to the statement, Cherry Hill Mall management will enforce the “parent escort policy” beginning at 4 p.m. until the mall closes at 9.
“All guests 17 and under are to be accompanied by a parent or supervising adult age 21 or older," it states. "Proof of age is required for admittance. One parent or supervising adult may accompany up to four youths.”
At the King of Prussia Mall, police will be conducting supplemental patrols within the shopping center, and off-duty officers will be circulating on details through the parking lots, said Lt. Paul Cooper of the Upper Merion Police.