CHERRY HILL, N.J. (WTXF) - Hanging out at the mall used to be a rite of passage. But, police in Cherry Hill are not having it at all. They are telling teens they don’t have to go home, but they can’t hang out at the mall.
What’s going on there?
“Zero tolerance policy, you know, for any kind of disruptive or disorderly behavior,” said Police Chief Bud Monaghan.
“Hey, Hank here, at the Cherry Hill Mall. Local police are keeping an eye on for the day after Christmas. My take is the kids have cellphones. They got no school and they’ve probably got gift cards. That’s a recipe for nonsense,” said Hank Flynn.
Mall fights are apparently a thing the day after Christmas. Who knew? Well, Police Chief Bud Monaghan knew. And, he’s having none of it in Cherry Hill.
“So, we’ve brought additional officers, additional resources from that day. We have plainclothes officers in the mall. You wouldn’t know that they’re officers. So, if these kids want to act up, thinking that they don’t see a uniformed officer in their sight, they’d better be very careful because a plainclothes officer might be right next to them,” explained Chief Monaghan.
And, a caution to parents from Monaghan. He adds the mall is not a babysitter. Don’t treat it like one.
“I used to love it if my parents would cut me some room at the Mall…talk to friends, maybe girls. It was cool,” said Flynn.
Monique Howell met her man Big Penny at the mall. Good times.
“My mom would drop me off at the mall. Give us a couple of dollars. We would go have our pizza and just have fun. We didn’t cause any problems. It was just a good time. A nice, safe atmosphere,” said Howell.
Still is, by and large. But, Monaghan says there were something like twenty incidents in malls nationwide on December 26, 2016, including fights like one that happened at Cherry Hill Mall four years ago. Sometimes, there are reasons.
“Nine times out of ten there is no reason,” said a young mall shopper.
Young guys out by the mall tell FOX 29 when kids from different schools and different towns come together, the energy’s there.
“It’s like if they see each other, they’ll try to nitpick with them. And, that’s basically what it takes. That’s what sets the fire off. That’s what happens and then chaos starts,” the young mall shopper explained.
“I’m going to go out on an optimistic limb and say everything’s going to be fine. And, good for Cherry Hill Police for putting the word out. Better safe than sorry. But, these kids today, right? Wrong. There’s nothing wrong with this generation. Everything’s going to be fine. I’m Hank. That’s my take,” said Flynn.