Cherry Hill police on Wednesday warned parents not to drop off unsupervised juveniles at Cherry Hill Mall, in hope of averting a repeat of the chaotic scene involving nearly 1,000 teens on the day after Christmas last year.
“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,” police said in a statement.
“The Cherry Hill Police Department wants everyone to have a safe shopping experience. Parents and guardians should not be dropping off their children unsupervised at retail shopping centers.
“Although the Cherry Hill Mall does not enforce a parental escort policy, there is a code of conduct that must be adhered to and anyone acting in an inappropriate manner will be asked to leave,” the police said.
That wording is identical to the warning Cherry Hill police issued last year.
That did not stop a swarm of teens from frightening shoppers and mall employees on Dec. 26. There were several fights, but no serious injuries were reported. Video of the incidents went viral on social media.
Just as they did last year, Cherry Hill police will beef up patrols around and inside the mall and at other shopping centers.
Cherry Hill Police Chief William Monaghan said in an email that this year’s warning “was issued in response to incidents that have occurred historically at the mall at this time of year. It was not in response to any incidents this year.”
The mall’s management said in an emailed statement: “The Cherry Hill Mall has been working closely with the Cherry Hill Police Department during the holiday season. The safety and security of our shoppers, tenants and employees are our top priority, and it is our hope that alongside the Police Department, we will be able to provide a safe and enjoyable shopping experience after the holiday.”