MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - This weekend, a Memphis mall is bulking up security and banning teenagers without adult supervision. Friday through closing Sunday, Oak Court Mall set up a “parental escort policy” for anyone under the age of 18.
It comes a week after gunfire and fights by young people at Wolfchase Galleria, and social media chatter of a similar gathering this weekend at Oak Court.
Mall management hopes this weekend's escort policy eases concerns, maintains order, and avoids more bad headlines.
"Not afraid of adults. I'm afraid of kids."
That's why Diane Johnson said she rarely shops anymore at Oak Court Mall, instead going to nearby places on Poplar like Nordstrom Rack.
"You don't want to lose your life just because you have to stop at Macy's for something. So I find free standing stores are much better,” says Johnson.
This weekend, Oak Court Mall will require:
Anyone under 18 to be with a parent or legal guardian at least 21-years-old.
Visitors must have an ID to prove their age.
And anyone under 18 without an escort will be asked to leave or face a trespassing charge.
“It's a problem and I hope they get it fixed up,” says Ellen Taven.
The decision comes a week after cell phone video captured gunfire and fights at Wolfchase Galleria in Cordova, where Memphis police arrested 6 teenage boys. Social media posts also boasted about an Oak Court flash mob this weekend. In December 2016, cell phone video also caught huge fights inside Oak Court.
"If they can kind of get this under their belt and get more people to shop there and try to put fears away, I think that can be really great for this area, particularly right off Poplar,” says Lauren Rainbolt.
In a statement, Oak Court's General Manager said:
"The parental escort policy demonstrates our commitment to the Memphis community as we continue to focus on delivering a positive and safe experience. We work closely with local law enforcement on all matters relating to the safety our guests."
A Wolfchase Galleria spokesperson said Friday afternoon they don't plan to enact a similar parental escort policy this weekend, but said security remains a top priority 24 hours a day.
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