I happened to be driving on Kimberly Road to pick up some dinner when I saw the lights from the police cars at NorthPark Mall. There were five or six squads there. It turns out they were responding to a disturbance in the parking lot outside the food court. Our news share partner Local 4 News reached out to the mall to see what they're doing to address safety this weekend. Here's their statement to Local 4 News:

"The incident in the parking lot at North Park Mall, involving a group of teens, was an isolated incident between two groups of individuals and is not the normal conduct desired at the mall. We are disappointed by these actions, but do not see this incident as an ongoing disruption for our shoppers."

They also told Local 4 News they're committed to creating a fun, enjoyable destination for all, have a code of conduct, and work with local law enforcement to address any security concerns the mall may have. I think I've seen the mall's code of conduct posted at the mall, but I couldn't find the actual code of conduct on the NorthPark Mall website.

One of the ways malls try to keep the mall fun for all is to limit the hours when teens can be there unaccompanied. According to Local 4 News, the Mall of America in Minnesota has had an adult supervision policy for teens 16 and under since 1966. Water Tower Place in Chicago instituted a policy where teens 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult on Friday and Saturday nights after 4PM.

As a middle aged adult who occasionally goes the mall, I'd be fine going during a time where there aren't groups of teens roaming around. My inner teen who spent many hours wandering around a couple of malls in my home town sees it differently. I loved roaming around the mall browsing the records, playing some games at Aladdin's Castle and grabbing a slice in the food court. It was a fun part of my teenage social experience.

If teens want to hang at the mall on Friday or Saturday night I'm OK with that. As long as they're not causing too much of a disturbance. In other words, don't get into a fight in the parking lot. Or be overly obnoxious as you walk from Hot Topic to Lid's and check out the games at Disc Replay.

I'm almost surprised teens still go to the mall at all. My inner teen doesn't think it's half as cool as it used to be. Record stores in malls don't exist. You don't need an arcade to play video games. And no one's buying the latest fashions at Chess King. Although walking through the mall with a Wetzel's Pretzel and window shopping at Spencer's always awakens my inner teen. If teens can still make good memories at the mall I'm all for it.


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