A policy that will restrict teens from gathering at Chicago Ridge Mall on weekend evenings begins on Friday.
Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult who is at least 21 years old in order enter the mall on Friday and Saturday nights.
The mall’s new youth supervision policy will be in effect on Friday and Saturday nights from 5 p.m. until the mall closes at 9 p.m.
The policy goes into effect about one month earlier than the March start date mall officials and Chicago Ridge police initially discussed.
An adult can accompany up to six teens and must stay with them at all times, according to the policy. Unaccompanied teens will be asked for identification and asked to leave the mall if they are under 18.
Teens who split from the adult that accompanied them will be asked by security to contact the accompanying adult via cell phone or leave the mall.
Teens can still attend the mall to see a movie, but cannot linger in the adjacent food court or enter mall without adult supervision.
Mall security plans to strictly enforce the new policy.
“There’s going to be security stationed at the doors,” said Monika Kalicki, the mall’s marketing director. “Most people can expect to get carded.”
The goal of policy is ensure that the mall is safe environment for families to shop, Kalicki said.
“Teens are still welcome on the property,” she said. “This isn’t a restriction. Teens are still welcome.”
Mall officials said theyconsidered the restrictions long before the December incident in which a food court fight quickly escalated when some patrons believed shots were fired inside the mall, Kalicki said.
As it turns out, a restaurant worker in the food court banged pots together several times in an effort to disperse the crowd that gathered when a fight broke out, officials said.
Mall security and police from Chicago Ridge and surrounding communities were on alert the following weekend when a Facebook post threatened similar action at the mall, 95th Street and Ridgeland Avenue. Nothing came as a result of the social media posts.
Kalicki said youth supervision policies are a trend in malls throughout the country. North Riverside Mall, adopted one in 2013, and Ford City, will put one into effect on Feb. 13
While the policy has the potential to turn away some teen shoppers who likely would rather not go the mall accompanied by mom or dad, Kalicki said some teens have thanked mall officials for implements the restrictions.
“It’s something we’re going to have to see how it plays out,” Kalicki said. “We’re going to be very interested to see the turnout. Any time there is a change, there’s going to be a period of adjustment.”