Monday, June 24, 2024

In wake of youth brawls, Torrance mall set to require chaperones

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A major Southern California shopping center that was roiled by two youth brawls last year has announced a new policy requiring adult supervision of minors on Fridays and Saturdays.

After 3 p.m. on those days, minors will not be allowed to enter Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance and any on the premises must leave if not accompanied by a parent or adult over 21, according to a statement from the Simon Property Group. The policy, which was first reported by other media outlets, goes into effect Friday.

“We are committed to providing a pleasant and family friendly shopping environment for all of our guests,” Simon said in its statement. “The program is in response to feedback from the community and community leaders, as the center reinforces its commitment to the community to provide a pleasant, family friendly shopping environment.”

The change comes roughly two months after a fight escalated into “escalating disruptive behavior” across the shopping center leading to its temporary closure and the arrest of five youths.

To quell the disturbance, Torrance police called on nearly a dozen other law enforcement agencies for help. Officers formed a skirmish line, issued a dispersal order, and escorted the young people away from the mall and surrounding businesses, according to a news release from the department.

Multiple police agencies also responded last summer when a brawl among juveniles drew a massive crowd of underage onlookers.

In that incident, a witness reported that at least one gunshot was fired, but there were no reports of serious injuries or arrests. Authorities worked to clear the fight watchers from the area, but there was not a general evacuation from the mall, police said.

Fox11 reported on Friday that signs detailing the policy were posted at the mall entrance.

In its policy, Simon said youths and their adult chaperones may be asked to show driver’s licenses or other proof of age, and those without identification will be denied entry or asked to leave.

Under the policy, one adult can accompany up to four youths but must remain with them at all times and is responsible for their actions.

Underage store employees can remain during their shifts but must adhere to the youth policy when not on the job.

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