After brawl, Fox Valley Mall says it will enforce rule for teen shoppers
Fox Valley Mall in Aurora is requiring shoppers under 18 to be with an adult during certain times after a fight closed down the mall the day after Christmas.
The mall, one of a few in the suburbs with such a rule, will enforce its "parental escort policy" between 4 and 9 p.m. on designated days. The first was on Monday, but no other days have been scheduled yet, said General Manager J. Scott Samson.
When the policy is in force, those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult 21 or older.
"The safety of our guests, employees, and tenants at Fox Valley Mall is our top priority," Samson said. "While we are not able to speak about the mall's security measures in detail, please know that we work closely with local and national law enforcement on all matters relating to mall safety."
Fox Valley joins a growing number of shopping malls nationwide that have instituted policies meant to help curb fights and other disturbances. The Chicago Ridge Mall and Ford City Mall in Chicago both started in 2015. North Riverside Park Mall in the southwest suburbs initiated a policy in 2013.
In late December, eight teens were charged with battery, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct after a brawl broke out at Fox Valley. It took about 75 police officers from Aurora and some from neighboring suburbs to temporarily close down the mall and regain control. It was one of several such fights that were reported nationwide that day.
About 100 malls nationwide have policies against unaccompanied teens and many started going into effect in the early 2000s, said Stephanie Cegielski, spokeswoman for the International Council of Shopping Centers.
"I don't have specific information on how effective they have been, but some of the security personnel I have spoken to provided positive feedback on the implementation for their property," Cegielski said.
The Aurora mall's new policy says one adult can supervise up to four youths. While escorted youths are not required to carry identification, accompanying adults and guests between ages 18 and 25 will be asked to show a U.S. driver's license, a state-issued ID, a resident alien card, a passport, U.S. military ID, Mexican consulate ID or Canadian ID. No form of college or high school ID will be accepted, the policy said.
Designated days at Fox Valley are expected to be determined by mall management, security and local law enforcement. The dates will be shared with shoppers via the mall's website, Facebook and Twitter, said mall spokeswoman Kristina Arias.
Nationally, the Eastland Mall in Bloomington, Illinois, started restricting unaccompanied minors in September 2013. The St. Louis Outlet Mall in Missouri started such a rule in January 2013. The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, also initiated a policy after a chair was thrown during Christmas week in 2011.