Friday, June 11, 2004

Working for the Clampdown Department

Fairlane Town Center, a mall in Dearborn, Michigan, as of June 1st, requires anyone younger than 18 to leave the mall after 5 p.m. unless they are "supervised" by someone 21 or older:

[Mall general manager Cathy] O'Malley said the policy is crucial for maintaining decorum and safety, especially on Friday and Saturday evenings when as many as 2,600 teens go to the food court and other sections of the mall. Often unruly, the teens have started fights, yelled obscenities and blocked adults from entering stores, O'Malley said.

Under the new policy, security police -- who have the power to make arrests -- will head to Fairlane entrances at 5 p.m. to stop people who look 17 or younger from entering the mall unsupervised. Additional security police will patrol the parking lot to make sure the young people actually leave.

Another mall in the area, Eastland Mall in Harper Woods, will launch a similar policy June 15th:

"The biggest reason for this is for comfort and safety and to offer a welcoming environment," said Denise DeSantis, director of marketing at Eastland Mall.

"Kids are great. They are wonderful. It's just when you get a large, large group unsupervised, it's a recipe to consider. They can be preyed upon, and they can act inappropriately. Their silly mistakes can turn into arrest records," she said.


Ridiculous. As if there weren't a lack of public space for kids to hang out in already. Suburban America is near-devoid of the stuff. Malls, as awful as they are, at least serve that one important, noncommercial purpose. The kids are right to laugh at the idea that they might go to the Boys and Girls Club instead.