BLOOMINGTON — A teenage rite of passage — hanging out at the mall — soon will require adult supervision.

After ongoing problems with troublemaking kids, a new policy at Bloomington’s Eastland Mall will require minors to be escorted by parent or guardians after 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, General Manager David Cate said Wednesday.

“We like our youth and we want them to shop here,” Cate said during a morning news conference. “We’re just asking that for six out of the 72 hours of the shopping week, they have their parents with them.”

The requirement will begin Friday.

The policy shift responds to concerns of store owners and mall patrons who have complained that large crowds of unsupervised youths on weekends cause trouble and make shoppers feel unsafe. Unsupervised youths account for about 60 percent of the mall’s bans or arrests on Friday and Saturday nights, Cate said.

Bloomington police responded to 776 calls at Eastland in 2012 and have had 360 calls so far this year, said department spokeswoman Sara Mayer. Police were unable to specify how many incidents at the mall stemmed from unsupervised minors.

Mayer said police will step up patrols with the aim of assisting mall security as the new policy takes effect.

The mall also will increase its security personnel to enforce the new policy, Cate said, though he did not know by how many. Security guards will be posted at the mall’s five entrances to screen minors entering the mall and, if necessary, to ask for identification proving their age.

The mall’s public address system will broadcast a message over the intercom at 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays telling young patrons to finish their shopping or ask a parent to accompany them.

Teenage mall employees will be exempt from the policy and be issued identification cards.

The mall’s anchor stores will be able to set their own policies on the matter.

Signs and brochures explaining the change were posted at the mall’s entrances Wednesday.

Julie Ewan, store manager at The Mole Hole gift shop, has seen fights involving unattended young people. She said the policy will be a benefit to shoppers and mall tenants.

“We’ve seen fights right out in front of the store,” Ewan said. “As a parent, I don’t want my daughter out here on Friday nights.”

Tim Wright and Michelle Stephens of Champaign were shopping at the mall late Wednesday afternoon with their 14-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter. They agreed with the policy.

“I don’t think (teens) have any reason to be at the mall unless they’re with a parent, shopping,” Wright said.

Mall customer Jenny Sheton, 40, of Bloomington had mixed feelings about the policy, saying she understands the concerns of parents but also sees few places for teens to mingle safely.

“I feel like kids don’t have many places to go where they’re safe and can eat and shop,” Sheton said.

The mall’s parent company, CBL & Associates of Chattanooga, Tenn., operates 97 malls throughout the country. It has instituted a similar policy at about 10 of them, Cate said.

The Shoppes at College Hills in Normal, hasn’t had similar problems and isn’t considering such a policy, said Marketing Manager Cindy Patterson. It is not owned by CBL.

“I think there are a lot of differences to our two properties that lend themselves to being different environments,” Patterson said.

(48) comments

motherof4
motherof4

So a 18 year old mother can not take their child to the mall. ? or a 19 year old father..or a 20 year old parent ? - Eastland Mall is low end joke of a mall anyway.

CommentCrazy
CommentCrazy

@motherof4. Ummm, yes they could. It says under 18 cannot be without a parent. So, in your example, it would have to be a 17-year-old, or younger, regardless if they are a parent couldn't be in the mall alone.

Interested
Interested

Someone 17 or under as a parent doesn't have any business spending what is most likely government handout money on expensive crap at the mall.

SideEye_84
SideEye_84

I really did laugh at your comment because it was hilarious...but how many rich spoiled kids here have babies at a young age!!! LOL I know a few...and they're out spending their parents money!! Let's be real interested...it's not just the government hand out kids anymore...ALL kids of different backgrounds are getting into trouble, ok! LOL.

jovialOne
jovialOne

And.... WHY ARE 17 YEAR OLDS HAVING BABIES!!!!!

peni1234
peni1234

Nice straw man sideeye. Arguing that there are rich kids out having babies and spending their parents doesn't disprove Interested's statement that they are "most likely" gov't handout kids.

everyoneknows
everyoneknows

At 18 you are not a minor. If your child is a teenager then I guess the answer is no.

Holly Shelton
Holly Shelton

If you are and 18,19, or 20 year old parent you probably don't have a child old enough to go to the mall alone....

Citizen 2013
Citizen 2013

It says a minor is someone younger than 18 and they must have a 21 year old with them. Why wouldn't someone 18 and old be able to go to the mall by themselves?

exrepub
exrepub

If you are shopping and minding your own business no one is going to ask you if you are 18 or 22. I would think the mall management could say that this place is for shopping not loitering which is what these kids apparently do. I had 4 boys. Do you know how many times they went to the mall to hangout for hours. Zero. I would think it unsafe to begin with, they should have something better to do at home and I wouldn't want them bothering other people or their things. Imo kids have no business hanging out at malls. Malls are for shopping not babysitters.

turtlelover
turtlelover

What is means is that if you are under 18, someone 21 or older must accompany you. If you are 18 or older, you can go unaccompanied. This is to keep 16 & 17 (or younger) year-olds from bringing an 18-20 year-old friend as a "guardian"

Drewski1974
Drewski1974

How do I get Eastland to implement a policy that prohibits my wife from dragging me to the mall with her?

To the youth that are hanging out at the mall, trust me when I tell you this new policy is in your favor!

areuserious
areuserious

This is a great idea! There are far too many teenagers at the mall at night on the weekends causing trouble. There are plenty of other places to hang out in bloomington-normal. It is unfortunate for the other kids who do behave.

Luckycharm
Luckycharm

where?

exrepub
exrepub

Your living room or yard or friends house or friends yard? When you think about it what can you do at the mall. Shop? Then make it a family shopping trip.

kjskeeter
kjskeeter

KIDS THESE DAYS!

exrepub
exrepub

I say parents these days! Who would allow their child to go somewhere for hours not having a clue about what they are doing and who they are with. And obviously among other young people who want to cause trouble. Who would even allow their children in Bloomington to go to school when school was out for hours unsupervised? And school is designed for kids.

miskaffon
miskaffon

Sorry exrepub, but there's a huge difference between a 13 year old and a 16-17 year old. My 16 year old does not need to have someone lurking over his shoulder (literally) 24/7. If anyone's teen that age does it is not a positive sign of the future for that child; helicopter (hover) parents are no better than neglectful parents. Even my younger child is gradually having opportunities given for independence, and not under my surveillance 24/7. Kids have to be trusted as warranted to make positive decisions on their own. A 16-17 year old is very close to being a legal adult, and *should* be quite close to being independent. Asking advice, yes, having someone babysit them? No.

However, obviously Eastland Mall, as a private business enterprise, does not fall under this expectation of maturity. As someone already mentioned, no it is not and should not be the responsibility of the security of the mall and/or shopkeepers to monitor loitering, destructive, dangerous minors. I *do* agree to this policy, no matter how much my 16 year old protests it! That being said, if I am at the mall myself, and my children would like to shop, I feel they should be able to do so as long as they do not act in an irresponsible or illegal way.

Drizzew5
Drizzew5

Multiple men

xxwitchywomanxx
xxwitchywomanxx

This new policy should be in effect every day of the week, not just on weekends.

smile2
smile2

This is a great new rule! Lazy parents using the mall as a "baby sitter is how eastland got to this point. Way to go Eastland Mall!

Comment deleted.
otis1949
otis1949

that's true you hit the nail on the head

thoughts a million
thoughts a million

"Mall customer Jenny Sheton, 40, of Bloomington had mixed feelings about the policy, saying she understands the concerns of parents but also sees few places for teens to mingle safely."
.
And obviously with BPD responding there an average of twice a day, the mall is not the place to "mingle safely."

Michelle23
Michelle23

Other peoples children! ( haha)

jm2
jm2

" . . . 97 malls throughout the country. It has instituted a similar policy at about 10 of them . . ." This statement sure says something about what the city of Bloomington/Normal has become. Very sad.

Daniel Story
Daniel Story

Great idea! It's a family place Anyways and most kids are loud and disrespectful.

common sense
common sense

THE MALL SHOULD RUN THE SCHOOLS ---KEEP THE HALL WAYS IN ORDER AND IF THERE IS A PROBLEM IN CLASS ---KICK THEM OUT

jovialOne
jovialOne

Adult swim anyone? HAHAHA Such a great idea. "It takes a village..." you know the old saying. Anyway's I think it's a good idea because I think I WAS ONE OF THOSE KIDS! And I would have been better off if there were more rules. Teenager these days act ENTITLED TO EVERYTHING! So nothing like removing privledges hahaha

internetjunkey
internetjunkey

I very much agree with this!! I don't think this has to do with the troubled youth.. This has to do with the parents. If someone would have actually spent time with their children instead of discarding them at the mall there wouldn't be so many issues. Too many parents would drop off their 10 year olds at the mall hand them $20 and left. What fantastic parenting you have... right?? I worked in the mall for a good 7 years.. and I saw this all the time. The shopping centers aren't a place for free/cheap fun. There are people who have to clean up after the children left to rampage through the stores, There have been increased thefts and frankly those "children" are horrible. When we had BUS LOADS of children dropped off it was horrible. Again, I don't think this is all to blame on the children, Parents should be held accountable for actions as well. way to go eastland.

mixdown
mixdown

Sheesh. This is really too bad. When I was a teenager, the mall was the hangout. Of course, I didn't make any trouble though. But even at age 38 the mall is where I go to waste time when I'm bored... not to buy stuff. It's too expensive. And most teenagers I know don't make any trouble either. I would expect my children once they are teenagers to go places on their own (they won't want me around all the time, nor should they) to hang out and have fun. Where will they go once they ban unaccompanied teens from everywhere?

thoughts a million
thoughts a million

" But even at age 38 the mall is where I go to waste time when I'm bored..."
.
Sounds like part of the plot for "Failure to Launch."

The Patriot
The Patriot

good grief someone take away the computers from all the old fools posting in here. most obviously love sheltered lives and likely don't have teenagers. I hate the mall and glad to see they are doing their best to run it out of business. just like all the other malls around the country with stupid rules. #policestate #oldfoolswithinterwebs

BC
BC

Sorry police records and statistics aren't fabrications by "old fools", they are hard facts. Malls would survive fine without any business from the under 18 crowd. If business wasn't suffering from this problem they wouldn't be making rules. Good kids from decent homes are also afraid to go to malls, the only thing left is thugs and degenerates.

Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein

The Pied Piper of Eastland Mall. What a great story.

Reasonable
Reasonable

Makes sense, I have been to the mall in the evening, and I have seen the issues described. They are probably going to have to make some changes in the rules during Cristmas break etc.
BTW my kids used to hang out at the mall with their friends. Now, they are too scared to go.

catlbyer16
catlbyer16

Kids need responsible chores to do at home. I was raised on a livestock farm and at age eight my father decided I needed to know how to not only milk a cow, but go get her to the barn, feed her, two times a day, seven days a week. Just to make it more interesting, he bought and sold all kinds of livestock. So in the morning I might have to milk a Holstein, and then at night a Jersey or worse yet a crossbred of milk cow and a beef cow. One lesson learned early on, 'Never Smack A Milk Cow Until You Are Finished Milking Her!" Not every kid needs or can have a milk cow, but there are other home jobs to be done. They want money? Let them start earning most of it.

SomeoneElse
SomeoneElse

Yeah, because I'd rather have my teenage daughter out wandering the streets and smoking pot in an alley instead of spending her allowance buying clothes at Hollister.... Really people!?!? There are some BAD kids out there, but COME ON!!!! Step up your security and kick the hoodlums out!! Make them an example, but don't ban the good kids from a basically public place because of THEM!! Hey, the mall walkers get in my way and are walking roadblocks... they're causing a nuisance too... Yep, we all have our complaints.... And there is SOOOOO much to do in B-N to keep kids out of trouble and off the streets... (that is what you call sarcasm...). This just makes me sick. WELCOME TO BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL!!!! :(

BC
BC

If your teenage daughter is going to smoke pot she will do it mall or not. She will be spending her allowance on it, she just won't have the mall as a point to connect with her supplier. Mall walkers are not shoplifting, intimidating other shoppers and menacing decent kids who actually want to shop. Sorry but your daughter may have to go to a park, invite friends over and inconvenience you at home. A mall is for retail sales not a kid hangout. I have news for you, good kids are staying away from malls because of THEM. If this is such a crisis for your kid you might want to check who she is hanging out with at the mall. Not much difference between hanging out at the mall and on a street corner other than it is climate controlled. Take your kid to the mall and cool your heels sitting somewhere while she shops. That is called parenting and knowing where your teen is and what they are doing. Get used to it, this problem has been festering for a couple decades. Expect all malls to jump on the bandwagon.

Number 10
Number 10

Right on BC! it is time for action and the mall has stepped up. Now parents, it is time for you to step up.

BOOYA
BOOYA

You know another place that could use a "rule" to stop parents from dropping their thugs off and leaving.....FOUR SEASONS! Its a gym people! not a hang out spot. I am tired of hearing about somones stuff stolen from their lockers, or having to dodge teenagers on the track that are chasing each other with their cell phones!

Crybaby
Crybaby

When it comes to rowdy kids @ Eastland, I have to admit that I wholeheartedly agree with 'erneeswet12'.

Walter
Walter

In the olden days we didn't have malls, so kids had to hang out at someone's house or drive around, perhaps gag to gag. Problem now is nobody can stand the problem kids so they don't want them at home and want to ditch them anywhere they can. This should be an eye opener for responsible parents, yes your darling child might be problem unsupervised, don't dump them anywhere unsupervised. Unfortunately it is the irresponsible parents that do most the dumping.

BC
BC

It isn't the kids from homes with responsible parents that cause the problems. This is the only alternative the malls have. It is a shame good kids have to suffer for degenerates and thugs but that is how it goes in life. They can't profile, they can't discriminate by dress, the only choice they have is to make rules by age. Retail stores sell the most of their goods on evenings and weekends. It isn't the kids buying the bulk of the merchandise. When bands of trouble makers make shoppers feel unsafe they will shop elsewhere. The police statistics tell the story. Sorry kids, but if the mall totally barred anyone under 21 unaccompanied they would still profit. Nobody dislikes teenagers they don't like larcenous bands of thugs and this is the solution. Sad but true.

Captain
Captain

Where is the follow-up story? One weekend has passed with the new restrictions in place. What happened, if anything?

BOOYA
BOOYA

I honestly have no clue why this upsets anyone....If this upsets you then you must not go to the mall or read the newspaper. As many of the posters have said, these are not your straight A, or even your C student that is causing the issue. These are kids that have no regard for YOU or the property of others or the law. So with that said banning them from the mall for just a few hours a week is not even enough!!! they shoplift from stores daily! they break into cars out there daily.....and do we need another store employee beaten before we decide that the mall is not a hang out spot, its for you to SHOP in with your OWN money!

wellokthen
wellokthen

I applaud Eastland Mall. But I must say, it's not about age. Loitering by anyone of ANY age is problematic. Expand the policy to include people of all ages who appear to be wandering or sitting without purpose.

urbanwarfare10
urbanwarfare10

Paintball, splatmaster, and laser tag are out at Urban Warfare in Bloomington on Rte. 9. I know this Halloween they are doing a "zombie hunt" for Halloween. They will have that along with a haunted house. Great place to take the kids for something different. :)

Anaaaa
Anaaaa

Bohooo. You guys keep talkin about kids underage stealing and hanging out at the mall. But not all the kids are like that. To be honest anyone can steal. A 30 year old can steal to it isn't just kids . So open your eyes . Whatever those kids are doing so can adults. Adults can hang at the mall to.

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